Craig Levin, PhD, Receives SNMMI Mars Shot Fund Award

June 7, 2023

Reston, Virginia—The SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund is excited to announce that Craig Levin, PhD, professor of radiology, physics, electrical engineering and bioengineering at Stanford University in Stanford, California, has been selected as the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the 2023 Mars Shot Fund. The grants recognize individuals who have made transformative impact in the field and elevated the value of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

Craig Levin, PhD

The grant is one of five awarded in the inaugural year of the new SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund, which was established to provide resources that translate visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy and data science research or projects into tools or treatments that will help improve the lives of patients.

Levin’s Mars Shot grant was awarded based on his proposal, “High-sensitivity imaging of multiple breast cancer biomarkers in a single PET/MRI imaging session.”

Currently available PET/CT and PET/MRI scanners allow co-registration of sensitive molecular and high-resolution anatomic (CT or MRI) data, but despite the availability of multiple PET tracers that target a range of breast cancer biomarkers, PET studies are limited to imaging a single agent per scan. Currently, assessment and treatment of breast cancer is driven clinically by assessing multiple markers; therefore, PET imaging with a single agent is inherently limited in its ability to fully characterize breast cancer. Further, imaging the substantial inter- and intra-tumoral heterogeneity among tumors that share the same biomarker status requires significantly higher resolution than that provided in commercially available whole-body PET systems.

“A high-resolution PET imaging device that is capable of multiplexed imaging of tumor heterogeneity in vivo would provide important biologic information that is not currently available to aid our understanding of breast cancer heterogeneity, assessment of treatment response to targeted therapies, and development of imaging-based therapeutics,” said Levin. “We propose to develop a platform of innovative technologies for simultaneous PET/MRI that we hypothesize will enable visualization and quantification of up to three molecular biomarkers of breast cancer in the same imaging session, with the same or lower dose exposure when compared to a conventional PET study. The project will explore and create highly innovative tools, technologies and methods that, if successful, will improve the lives of breast cancer patients.”

Levin is a professor of radiology and, by courtesy, of physics, electrical engineering, and bioengineering at Stanford University. He is a founding member of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford and principal investigator and director of the Stanford Molecular Imaging Scholars postdoctoral training program. He received his MS, MPhil and PhD degrees in physics from Yale University. He has nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications and 40 patents awarded or pending. He lectured in a Nobel symposium in 2007, was elected into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s College of Fellows and was given the Academy of Radiology Research Distinguished Investigator Recognition Award.


About the SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund

The ‘Mars Shot for Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging, and Molecularly Targeted Radiopharmaceutical Therapy’ is a forward-looking glimpse into the future of nuclear medicine. Its goal is to provide resources for the translation of visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy, and data science research or projects into tools or treatments helping improve the lives of patients.

About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

SNMMI’s members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit