PET Center Neuroscience Program

Under the direction of radiochemist Chester A. Mathis, Ph.D., the University of Pittsburgh PET Facility continues to emphasize neuroscience imaging as a major research focus. The program of supported neuroscience research spans more than 30 approved human research protocols as well as preclinical imaging studies. Research studies are carried out in collaboration with more than 20 investigators from five academic departments within the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as well as several external institutions. This rich program of neuroscience imaging research is supported by dedicated instrumentation that includes a cyclotron and three research PET scanners, as well as a staff of approximately 25 scientists and technicians with specific expertise in quantitative PET neuroimaging methods. The PET Facility Radiochemistry Laboratory (RCL) is charged with the routine production of PET radiopharmaceuticals as well as the identification, synthesis, and advancement of novel radiopharmaceuticals in accordance with evolving research opportunities. Presently, human use approval has been granted for 26 different PET radiotracers that target diverse populations of neuroreceptors and transporters as well as specific disease pathologies. In addition, the PET RCL has synthesized hundreds of additional imaging agents in support of preclinical imaging studies. A team of experienced data analysts is available to provide investigators with comprehensive support for PET neuroimaging studies. Areas of research emphasis in clinical neuroscience include studies of dementia, aging, addiction, alcohol dependence, depression, sleep disorders, brain injury, and stroke.