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Dr. Georges El Fakhri Earns Edward J. Hoffman Award


This story was originally published on 03/12/2019 by Rad Times, a publication of the Mass General Hospital Department of Radiology.

The Edward J. Hoffman Award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to nuclear medicine research and education. The 2019 recipient is Georges El Fakhri, PhD, professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He is receiving the award for outstanding contributions to quantitative SPECT, PET-CT and PET-MR imaging and to the education of nuclear medicine scientists and physicians.

Dr. Georges El Fakhri was one of twelve scientists and physicians elected Fellow to the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging for his contributions to quantitative PET, CT and MR imaging during a special plenary session at the society’s 2018 annual meeting in June in Philadelphia. The SNMMI Fellowship was established in 2016 to recognize distinguished service to the society as well as exceptional achievement in the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. It is one of the most prestigious formal recognitions available to longtime SNMMI members.

Gordon Lecture: Chemogenetics and Biobehavioral Imaging Integration Using PET


Dr. Juan Gomez is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Baltimore, Maryland. At NIDA, Dr. Gomez helped design and set up a new laboratory space integrating PET imaging and behavioral neuroscience modalities. His doctoral research was conducted with Dr. Victoria Luine at Hunter College, where he studied interactions between alcohol exposure and stress in rodents and received his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of CUNY in 2012. Below is his presentation summary.

Dr. Gomez delivering his lecture

The use of chemogenetic technologies has produced minimally invasive techniques to modulate specific brain structures and/or neural networks in research animals and potentially in humans. Utilizing these methods has provided a boon in behavioral testing that does not involve the hindrance of movement restricting devices. Assisted by PET, Dr. Gomez's lab has characterized the mechanism of action of existing chemogenetic ligands used for activating virally implanted “designer” receptors. Data gathered from these experiments has led to novel revelations about the mechanism of action of popular chemogenetic technologies and more recently to synthesis of novel chemogenetic actuators and PET ligands with high affinity and efficacy for established chemogenetic receptors. Their goal is to leverage the availability of such minimally-invasive neuromodulation technologies with biobehavioral PET imaging methods to study pertinent behavioral neuroscience questions.

Gordon Lecture: Development of High Resolution PET Scanners with Depth Encoding Detectors


Prof. Yongfeng Yang got his Ph.D from Kyushu University, Japan in 2001. From 2002-2014 he worked at Prof. Simon Cherry’s lab at Department of Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis as postdoctoral fellow and project scientist. He has been a professor at Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2015. His research interests focus on instrumentation and application of positron emission tomography. The research of his lab is currently supported by Chinese National Science Foundation and Shenzhen City. Below is his presentation summary.

Depth of interaction uncertainty of the traditional PET detectors is solely the biggest obstacle for small animal and brain PET scanners to achieve high sensitivity and high spatial resolution simultaneously. In this presentation, first Dr. Yang presented his previous work on developing dual-ended readout depth encoding PET detectors with position sensitive APDs and developing a high resolution dedicated mouse brain PET scanner. Then the current work of his lab on developing MRI compatible small animal and brain PET scanners by using dual-ended readout detectors with SiPMs will be presented.

Radiology Employee Earns Certifications in Three Areas of Research Administration


This story was originally published on 03/12/2019 by  Rad Times, a publication of the Mass General Hospital Department of Radiology.

Ramzi El Fakhri, MBA, has become the first individual in New England to be certified in all three areas of research administration, namely research finance (CFRA), pre-award (CPRA), and general/post-award administration (CRA). There are only 11 other administrators in the US who hold all three designations at the same time.

The CFRA, CPRA and CRA recognize an individual’s knowledge in research administration and increase sponsored research offices' credibility. The minimum requirements for each designation are a bachelor’s degree, three years of relevant professional experience, and the successful completion of a national and rigorous exam organized by the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC).

Ramzi manages a portfolio of grants and the PET Core research facility at the MGH Gordon Center where he has worked for the past three and half years.

Ramzi El Fakhri

TED-Ed video: why do hospitals have particle accelerators?


Gordon Center Assistant Professor Pedro Brugarolas collaborated with TED-Ed to explain the science behind how doctors use radioactive drugs and PET scans to detect and diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Gordon Lecture: Development of Copper(II)-Mediated Methods for PET Imaging Applications


Ms. Katarina J. Makaravage completed her B.S. in Chemistry at Appalachian State University in 2014. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Michigan under the direction of Prof. Melanie Sanford. She has focused on developing new methodologies for PET imaging applications in collaboration with Prof. Peter Scott from the University of Michigan Radiology Center. Ms. Makaravage was the guest speaker at a lecture organized by the MGH Gordon Center. Below is her presentation summary.

Most positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies are performed with fluorine-18 as the positron emitting radionuclide. Creating a C(sp2)–F bond is difficult, but several late-stage methods have been developed that overcome the challenges presented by this transformation. Unfortunately, translating methods for making natural C(sp2)–19F bonds to forging radioactive C(sp2)–18F moieties is not trivial due to several factors that will be discussed. The first section of this talk focused on the development of organometallic reagents commonly employed in the PET community to make C(sp2)–18F bonds. The starting materials required for these methods are frequently utilized, making the incorporation of this new methodology an easier transition. The second segment of this presentation discussed the application of these methodologies to improve the overall synthesis of 4-[18F]fluoro-m-hydroxyphenethylguanidine ([18F]4F-MHPG), a cardiac imaging agent currently going through clinical trials. Ms. Makaravage's talk addressed several challenges her group faced during the development of these methods, their current status, and future methodological developments.

Gordon Lecture: Multi-modality imaging of brain tumors and cardiovascular infections


Dr. Mirwais Wardak is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University. Dr. Wardak’s research focuses on quantitative molecular imaging, biomedical modelling, cardiac stem cell therapy, and machine learning. Dr. Wardak was the guest speaker at a lecture organized by the MGH Gordon Center. Below is his presentation summary.

Dr. Wardak highlighted results from two projects.

The first project involves a human trial with a brain tumor imaging agent called [18F]FSPG. [18F]FSPG is a glutamate analog tracer developed for PET imaging of system xC- transporter activity, which plays an important role in cell growth, tumor progression and drug resistance of several cancers.

He also showed results from a new PET tracer that they have developed in the Gambhir Lab which is able to specifically image bacterial infections in the body (both Gram+ and Gram-).

Radiology Employee Becomes First Certified Financial Research Administrator Within Partners


This story was originally published on 12/28/2028 by Imaging Times, a publication of the Mass General Hospital Department of Radiology.

Ramzi El Fakhri, MBA, CRA, has become the first employee within Mass General and Partners HealthCare to successfully pass the Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA) exam. There are only 82 CFRAs in the US including six in Massachusetts.

The CFRA recognizes an individual’s experience and knowledge in financial research administration and credibility when dealing with sponsors and offices of sponsored research. The requirements for the designation are a bachelor’s degree, three years of professional experience in research administration and successful completion of a national, written exam organized by the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC).

Ramzi manages the PET Core facility and a wide portfolio of grants at the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, where he has worked for the past three years.

Ramzi El Fakhri