Explore the NMMI

Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (NNMI) encompasses Clinical Service, Education and Research and the MGH PET Core. The research areas are organized into three Centers of excellence: PET Radiochemistry Discovery (CPRD); Advanced Radiological Sciences (CARS); and Translational Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (CTNMI).

The three pillars of NMMI are Clinical, Education and Research.The clinical operation provides full service nuclear medicine imaging (single photon and PET agents) using SPECT, PET, PET-CT and PET-MR and therapy services. The Educational program includes a nuclear radiology fellowship and comprehensive graduate student and post doctoral education including an NIH T32 and graduate courses at MIT. NMMI research encompasses three broad overlapping areas: 1) radiochemistry discovery; 2) imaging science and instrumentation; and 3) preclinical and clinical research. From 2008 to 2012, NMMI has experienced explosive growth in research personnel 25 to 110, research space (~3,000 sq. ft. to ~13,000 sq. ft.) and external funding (~$1M to ~$12M per year).

NMMI research includes single photon, PET and optical imaging. These areas explore agent discovery, validation and translational studies. As multimodal imaging is critical for molecular imaging, NMMI have research efforts in CT, MR and ultrasound. The research has evolved into three Centers, which constructively overlap. These efforts are located in research laboratories (~13,000 sq ft) in the MGH main campus and at the research campus in Charlestown.

Center for PET Radiochemistry Discovery (CPRD)

Research includes molecular discovery, novel radiolabeling including total radiosynthesis of 11C and 18 F radiopharmaceuticals, radiometals, biodistribution, metabolism and first in human studies.

Center for Advanced Radiological Sciences (CARS)

Research includes imaging science aspects as they pertain to instrumentation, quantitative imaging and analysis methods for PET, CT, MR, and SPECT simulations, kinetic modeling, image reconstruction etc. with applications in brain, cardiac and oncological imaging as well as radionuclide therapy and proton beam therapy.

Center for Translational Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (CTNMI)

Research includes designing, creating, and testing new methods for imaging and therapeutic targeting of important biological pathways in disease. The process spans imaging, creation of appropriate cell-based and animal models of pathology and the clinical translation of the optimized concepts to help detect disease and therapeutic response in people. Our imaging efforts focus on PET, optical-fluorescence, MR, and SPECT imaging in both preclinical systems. 

MGH PET Core

Established in 1973, the MGH PET Core provides radiopharmaceutical syntheses, radioisotope production, quantitative imaging, data analysis and experimental design and data analysis services to investigators at the MGH and in the Boston research community. The PET Core includes the Cyclotron, the Radionuclide Production Facility, Imaging facilities and PET Data Analysis Laboratory.

History

Nuclear Medicine at Mass General has a rich history beginning with Dr Saul Hertz experiments with 128I uptake in rabbits in 1940s. Dr. Gordon Brownell developed instrumentation to obtain the first positron emission images in the 1950s that evolved into positron emission tomography. The MGH installed one of the first hospital-based cyclotrons in 1967 and established the MGH PET Core in 1973. In late 2007, the Division was renamed Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (NMMI) to reflect the growth and diversity of clinical and research activities. In 2009, the MGH installed a GMP PET radiochemistry production facility and a new 17MeV cyclotron. It is today at the forefront of molecular imaging research and discovery with state of the art imaging and radiochemistry instrumentation. 

Leadership

Thomas Brady, MD, Director of MGH NMMI
Georges El-Fakhri, PhD, Director of MGH PET Core and CARS and Co-Director NMMI
Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD, Director of CTNMI and Co-Director NMMI
Ted Palmer, MD, Director of the Clinical Services
Neil Vasdev, PhD, Director of MGH Radiochemistry and CPRD

A Scientific Management Committee assists the Leadership in providing strategic direction for the Program. A PET Core Management Committee provides guidance for the operation of the cyclotron and radiochemistry production facilities.

Research Projects

NNMI encompasses broad research areas that are organized into three centers of excellence:

Center for Translational Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (CTNMI)

Four imaging suites are located immediately adjacent to animal housing and surgical suites. Imaging equipment includes a GE eXplore Vista microPET scanner. This scanner is based on a dual-scintillation, depth-of-interaction technology that enables extremely high sensitivity and high spatial resolution. The scanner has an axial 4.6 cm FOV, a transverse 6.7 cm FOV, 36 depth of interaction modules, 12,168 crystals, and has 28.8M coincidence lines. The central spatial resolution is 1.2 mm using 3D OSEM reconstruction. The system has 15 ns timing resolution, and a 4% sensitivity.  For fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging, four systems are available: a Kodak FX Multispectral Imaging system (29 excitation and 4 emission wavelengths, overlay of white light and x-ray images, and bioluminescence-level sensitivity), a Maestro CRI multichannel fluorescence imaging system, a homebuilt bioluminescence imaging system based on a high sensitivity Roper Scientific CCD camera, and multiple home built fluorescence imaging minimally invasive system for murine endoscopy. For biodistribution studies, Wallac/Perkin Elmer Gamma counter and dose calibrators are available.

There are four tissue culture rooms on CNY149-5.  Each room (150-250 sq. ft) is equipped with a laminar flow hood (Forma Scientific model 1132), CO2 incubators (Forma Scientific water jacketed), a microscope (Nikon TMS), waterbaths (Labline), and benchtop centrifuges. There is a liquid nitrogen freezer (Thermoscientific CryoPlus 2) for long term storage of cell lines.  An Olympus Microscope Imaging System w/Phase contrast  & Fluorescence (IX51/DP-72) is available for publication quality micrographs. Flow cytometers (FACSCalibur, LSR II) and a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACSAria, all from Becton Dickinson) are available for use.

The animal preparation area on CNY 149-5 consists of a separate room (150 sq. ft.), with surgical stainless steel benches for small animal surgery. This room was specifically designed for complex small animal surgery, anesthesia and monitoring, implantation of tumors, biodistribution experiments and injection of imaging agents and therapeutics. Each surgical suite has available all surgical equipment for small animal surgery, intubation, and dissection.  Warming pads are routinely used for maintaining body temperature during surgery. The rooms feature inhaled (isoflurane) anesthesia.

Center for Advanced Radiological Sciences (CARS)

Group Members

NMMI has over 40 faculty members and over 60 postdoctoral research fellows and students. In addition, many researchers from various Mass General departments and the Boston research community are affiliated faculty.

Faculty and Professional Staff
  • Alpert, Nathaniel
  • Becker, (John) Alex
  • Belov, Vasily
  • Bonab, Ali
  • Brady, Thomas
  • Callahan, Ronald
  • Collier, (Thomas) Lee
  • Connolly, Leonard
  • Correia, Jack
  • DePietro, Allegra
  • Do, Synho
  • El Fakhri, Georges
  • Elmaleh, David
  • Gewirtz, Henry
  • Gupta, Rajiv
  • Heidari, Pedram
  • Holland, Jason
  • Hooker, Jacob
  • Jackson, Raul
  • Johnson, Keith
  • Josephson, Lee
  • Kuruppu, (Kumudu) Darshini
  • Lee, David
  • Li, Quanzheng
  • Liang, (Huan) Steven
  • Lim, Ruth
  • Livni, Elijahu
  • Mahmood, Umar
  • Moore, Ronald
  • Normandin, Marc
  • Ouyang, Jinsong
  • Palmer, Edwin
  • Papisov, Mikhail
  • Rabito, Carlos
  • Rice, Peter
  • Scott, James
  • Sepulcre Bernad, Jorge
  • Shah, Khalid
  • Shoup, Timothy
  • Sosnovik, David
  • Vasdev, Neil
  • Yasuda, Tsunehiro
  • Yokell, Daniel
  • Yuan, Hushan
  • Zhu, Xuping
Post-doctoral Fellows
  • Abdar Esfahani, Shadi
  • Belova, Elena
  • Chen, Howard
  • Cho, Hoon Sung
  • Choi, Sung Hugh
  • Dinkel, Julien
  • Du, Wanlu
  • Dutta, Joyita
  • Galanaud, Damien
  • Grogg, Kira
  • Guo, Yanyan
  • Huang, Chuan
  • Khalil-Zadeh, Omid
  • Malave, Peter
  • Mananga, Eugene
  • Martinez Quintanilla, Jordi
  • Mushti, Chandra
  • Nappi, Carmela
  • Rakvongthai, Yothin
  • Redjal, Navid
  • Schlunker, Frieder
  • Stuckey, Dan
  • Turker, Selcan
  • Zhu, Yanni
Technical Staff and Research Assistants
  • Bhere, Deepak
  • Bradshaw, Brian
  • Bradshaw, John
  • Cournoyer, Michael
  • DeNoble, Philip
  • Gagne, Matthew
  • Gidicsin, Christopher
  • Gillooly, Caitlin
  • Giunta, Michael
  • Leece, Alicia
  • Levin, Zhakhar
  • Maye, Jacqueline
  • Moon, Jarrod
  • Pepin, Lesley
  • Philiossaint, Marlie
  • Rotstein, Benjamin
  • Rozynova, Alexsandra
  • Syrkina, Aleksandra
  • Titus, James
  • Wang, Irene Si Ming
  • Weise, Steve
Students
  • Cameron, Cody
  • deBoer, Nadine
  • Hu, Chenhui
  • Johnson, Nick
  • Kamlet, Adam
  • Karakas, Nihal
  • Lewis, Rebecca
  • Lorsakul, Auranuch (Ney)
  • Li, Hao
  • Perez-Gutierrez, Jose
  • Petibon, Yoann
  • Rushford, Laura
  • Sieffert, Melissa
  • Trichy Vijayakumar, Sindu
Administrative Staff
  • Haire, Elizabeth
  • Lazarova, Daniela
  • Shambaugh, Christina
  • Sheerar, Michaela