Radiochemistry Program - Vasdev Lab

The Radiochemistry Program - Vasdev Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital is dedicated to discovering new chemistry and evaluating novel PET radiopharmaceuticals for preclinical and clinical imaging studies.

Neil Vasdev, PhD

Neil Vasdev, PhD
Director of Radiochemistry at Mass General and Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School 

The overall research goal of the Radiochemistry Program is to synthesize novel positron emission tomography (PET) labeled compounds and radiopharmaceuticals for preclinical and clinical evaluations.

Led by Neil Vasdev, PhD, our team has expanded to include faculty members, visiting scientists, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate and high school students. We also have an active clinical production team that translates new PET radiopharmaceuticals for clinical studies.

Our laboratory has several active areas of research including:



Neil Vasdev, PhD

Back row left to right: Jason Holland, Benjamin Rotstein, Lee Collier, Nicky Stephenson, Tim Shoup, Steven Liang
Front row left to right: Becky Lewis, Colleen Shea, Neil Vasdev



Neil Vasdev, PhD

Director of Radiochemistry, MGH
Associate Professor of Radiology, HMS

Phone:   1-617-643-4736

B.Sc. (Hons) and B.A. (summa cum laude; 1998); Ph.D. (NSERC PGS; Profs. Chirakal and Schrobilgen) McMaster University, Canada; Chemist at Astra Pharma and Glaxo Wellcome Inc. NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (Prof. VanBrocklin, 2003-2004) Berkeley National Laboratories, USA. Associate Professor (2004-2011) University of Toronto/CAMH. Research Interests: Bench-to-bedside development of PET radiopharmaceutials.


Steven H. Liang, PhD

Assistant Chemist, MGH
Assistant Professor, HMS

Phone:   1-617-726-3404

B.Sc. (2003) in Chemistry, Tianjin University, Tianjin, P.R. China. Ph.D. (Prof. Ciufolini; 2010) in Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada. NSERC Post-doctoral Fellow, (Prof. E. J. Corey; 2010–2012) Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University. Research Interests: Total synthesis, 11C- and 18F-radiochemistry.



Jason P. Holland, DPhil

Assistant Chemist, MGH
Instructor in Radiology, HMS

Phone:   1-617-726-6107

Master’s in Chemistry (Hons; 2004) University of York, UK; D. Phil (Profs. Dilworth and Green; 2008) University of Oxford, UK; Post-doctoral Scholar at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (Prof. Lewis; 2008-2010); Senior Fellow (2010-2012), ETH Zurich. Research Interests: Metal-based radiotracers and PET imaging.


Timothy M. Shoup, PhD

Assistant Chemist, MGH
Instructor in Radiology, HMS

Phone:   1-617-726-6749

B.S. UCSB, CA; M.S. at SDSU,. Ph.D., UC Davis (1988). Postdoctoral fellowships: Prof. Kabalka (1989), University of Tennessee and MGH (1991: Dr. Elmeleh). Positions include: Assistant Professor (Emory University; 1993), and Biostream before rejoining MGH (2002).  Research Interests: Organic synthesis and radiochemistry.


Lee Collier, PhD

Visiting Scientist, MGH and HMS


B.Sc. (Hons; 1982) and Ph.D. (1989) in Chemistry, Carleton University, Canada; Positions include: Faculty appointment at Columbia University; Senior Scientist (2003-2008) Siemens Molecular Imaging Biomarker Research. Senior Scientist, 2009-Present, Advion Inc. Research Interests: 11C and 18F radiotracer synthesis with microfluidic flow chemistry.


Eli Livni, PhD

Assistant Professor of Radiology, HMS


B.Sc. (1968) in Chemistry, Bar Ilan University, Israel. PhD (1980) Medicinal Chemistry, Northeastern University, Boston (Prof. Davis). Chemistry and Radiochemistry positions include Asia Pharmaceuticals, Israel, Soreq Research Center, Israel, Childrens' Hospital Boston and at MGH and HMS over 32 years.


Benjamin H. Rotstein, PhD

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, MGH / HMS

Phone:   1-617-726-6980

BSc (Hons; 2007) in Chemistry, Dalhousie University and University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Ph.D. (Prof. Yudin; 2012) in Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in conjunction with GlaxoSmithKline (North Carolina). Research Interests: Medicinal chemistry and [11C]CO2 fixation.


Nickeisha A. Stephenson, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, MGH / HMS

Phone:   1-617-726-6867

B.S. in Chemistry, 2005, Ithaca College, New York. Ph.D. (Prof. Shannon Stahl; 2011) in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison. Post-Doctoral Research Scientist (Prof. Tobias Ritter; 2011-2013), Harvard University. Research Interests: Late-stage fluorination, 11C- and 18F-radiochemistry.


Cory Daignault, MD

Clinical Fellow

Phone:   1-617-643-7561

B.Sc (1998) Florida State University - Double Major Chemistry & Economics; MD (2008) Thomas Jefferson University; Internship (2009) Hennepin County Medical Center -Transitional; Residency (2013) University of Minnesota Medical Center - Diagnostic Radiology; Fellowship (current) Massachusetts General Hospital - Nuclear Radiology; Research interests - Quantitative nuclear Imaging, PET imaging of dementia


Alina Kassenbrock, BA

Research Assistant

Phone:   1-617-726-6867

B.A. in Chemistry, Reed College (2012).  Senior Reactor Operator, Reed Research Reactor (2009-2012).  Post Bac. Oregon Health Sciences University (2012-2013).  M.S. in Chemistry, Northeastern University (Ongoing).



Production Radiochemistry Team
Back row left to right: Peter Rice, Gary Siwruk
Front row left to right: Raul Jackson, Dan Yokell, Neil Vasdev

Thank you to our terrific co-op students from Northeastern, Becky Lewis and David Hill




Cover Gallery


Recent Group Publications

  • J. Holland, P. Cumming and N. Vasdev. "PET Imaging of Signal Transduction Pathways in Cancer." Journal of Nuclear Medicine Volume 53, Number 9, (2012). 1333-1336.
  • J. Holland, P. Cumming and N. Vasdev. "PET Radiopharmaceuticals for Probing Enzymes in the Brain" American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging." Volume 3, Number 3, (2013). 194-216.
  • B. Rotstein, S. Liang, J. Holland, T. Collier, J. Hooker, A. Wilson and N. Vasdev. "11CO2 Fixation: A Renaissance in PET Radiochemistry." Chemical Communications, Volume 49 (2013) 5621-5629.
  • T. Shoup, D. Yokell, P. Rice, R.J ackson, E.Livni, K. Johnson, T. Brady and N. Vasdev. “A Concise Radiosynthesis of the Tau Radiopharmaceutical, [18F]T807.” Journal of Labelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals Volume 56 (2013) 736-740. 
  • S. Liang, T. Collier, B. Rotstein, R. Lewis, M. Steck, and N. Vasdev. "Rapid Microfluidic Flow Hydrogenation for Reduction or Deprotection of 18F-Labeled Compounds."  Chemical Communications. Volume 49, Number 78 (2013) 8755 – 8757.              
  • T. Shoup, J. McCauley, D. Lee Jr., R. Chen, M. Normandin, A. Bonab, G. El Fakhri and N. Vasdev. “Synthesis of the dopamine D2/D3 receptor agonist (+)-PHNO via supercritical fluid chromatography: Preliminary PET imaging study with [3-11C]-(+)-PHNO." Tetrahedron Letters. Volume 55 (2014) 682-685.
  • S. Liang, D. Yokell, R. Jackson, P. Rice, R. Callahan, K. Johnson, D. Alagille, G. Tamagnan, T. Collier  and N. Vasdev. "Microfluidic continuous-flow radiosynthesis of [18F]FPEB suitable for human PET imaging.” Medicinal Chemistry Communications. Volume 5 (2014) 432-435.
  • B. Rotstein, J. Hooker, J. Woo, T. Collier, T. Brady, S. Liang and N. Vasdev. "Synthesis of [11C]bexarotene by Cu-mediated [11C]carbon dioxide fixation and preliminary PET imaging." ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters (2014). Volume 5 (2014) 668-672
  • J. Holland, S. Liang, B. Rotstein, T. Collier, N. Stephenson, I. Greguric and N. Vasdev “Alternative approaches for PET radiotracer development in Alzheimer’s disease: Imaging beyond plaque." Journal of Labelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals. Volume 57 (2014) 323-331.
  • Jason P. Holland and Neil Vasdev. “Charting the mechanism and reactivity of zirconium oxalate with hydroxamate ligands using density functional theory: implications in new chelate design” Dalton Transactions. Volume 43 (2014) 9872-9884.
  • S.H. Liang, D.L. Yokell, M.D. Normandin, P.A. Rice, R.N. Jackson, T.M. Shoup, T.J. Brady, G. El Fakhri, T.L. Collier and N. Vasdev “First Human Use of a Radiopharmaceutical Prepared by Continuous-Flow Microfluidic Chemistry: Proof of Concept with the Tau Imaging Agent [18F]T807”. Molecular Imaging  In press.
  • B.. Rotstein, H. Wey, T. Shoup, A. Wilson, S. Liang, J. Hooker* and N. Vasdev* “PET Imaging of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase with [18F]DOPP in Non-Human Primates” Molecular Pharmaceutics. (2014) In press.
  • B. Rotstein,+ N. Stephenson,+ N. Vasdev* and S. Liang* “Spirocyclic hypervalent iodine(III)-mediated radiofluorination of non-activated and hindered aromatics” Nature Communications. Volume 5 (2014) 4365-4369.


Mass General Radiochemistry Program - Vasdev Lab

Phone: 617-643-4736

Neil Vasdev, PhD
Director of Radiochemistry, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Massachusetts General Hospital
Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
55 Fruit Street, White 427
Boston, Massachusetts 02114

MGH Main Campus Map (Download PDF)

Radiochemistry Lab Map (Download PDF)