Profile Detail

Ashok Muthukrishnan, MD, MS

PET-CT Fellowship Director
Associate Professor of Radiology


Interest (in 3 to 10 words):

Education Master of Science MS: Health Informatics( UAB 2003)

Residency:University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB 2005)

Fellowship:University of Pittsburgh(UPMC 2006)

Chingleput Medical College (India)
Medical / Graduate School Chingleput Medical College (Medical)
MS, Health Information Management, University of
Alabama at Birmingham
Residency Christian Medical College & Hospital (India)
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Clinical / Post-doctoral Fellowship PET-CT fellowship: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Current American Health Information Association
American Medical Informatics Association
Health Information Management and Systems Society
Indian Society of Nuclear Medicine
International College of Nuclear Medicine Physicians
Medical Council of India
Radiological Society of North America
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Society of Nuclear Medicine Young Professionals Committee
& Programs
Nuclear Medicine
Clinical Interest New tracers in molecular imaging using PET-CT.

Parathyroid sestamibi SPECT-CT imaging.


Dr. Ashok Muthukrishnan has been with the nuclear medicine division for more than a decade now and has been very crucial in shaping up the division’s day-to-day activities as well as in its long-term improvements over the years. He has been the go-to person in parathyroid SPECT-CT imaging, frequently consulted by the endocrinologists, ENT surgeons and other his radiology colleagues for expert opinions on difficult cases. He has developed and written unique imaging protocols to be used routinely in daily clinical nuclear imaging at UPMC. He partnered with clinical oncology team to spearhead the approval of a new radionuclide alpha particle therapy drug ‘Xofigo’ for prostate cancer patients. He was successful in bringing the new PET agent Gallium-68 DOTATATE tracer to Pittsburgh by working with the industry and clinical team, which would benefit many neuroendocrine patients in region. Also, he is the principal investigator on the Compassionate use/ expanded access of the yet-to-be approved Lutathera ( Lu-177 DOTATATE) radionuclide therapy for patients with inoperable metastatic midgut carcinoid tumors, that would make University of Pittsburgh as one of the few centers in the country open for such specialized novel therapies. Few years back, he was instrumental in the enrollment of UPMC Hillman cancer center as a participating site for the Medicare PET patients as part of National Oncologic PET registry participant to help Medicare patients ensure access to reimbursement for certain types of PET scans.

From the early days of his fellowship training at UPMC, Dr. Muthukrishnan’s dedication toward teaching residents and medical students has been noteworthy. The “fellow of the year” award for his excellent teaching during his PET-CT fellowship at UPMC stands testimony to his keen interest in teaching from the outset. Over the years, he has individually mentored many radiology residents and medical students. He routinely presents morning case conferences, didactic radiology lectures to radiology residents. He has been a constant resource for the medical students and radiology residents to turn to when it comes to research, journal publication and oral presentations. Many of his published journal articles involve at least one resident or a medical student. He also closely works with the radiology/nuclear medicine technologists who always seek his expert opinion and teaching when they have any clinical or technical questions. His Health Informatics science degree also comes in handy to help teach the technologic aspects of medicine. He also routinely teaches and offers didactic lectures to the nuclear medicine technology students who do clinical rotations from other institutions such as Robert Morris university and the CCAC.

Dr. Muthukrishnan also is the program director for the PET-CT fellowship program in radiology. The fellowship program trains nuclear medicine physicians and radiologists in acquiring the subspecialty skillset and knowledge pertinent to PET-CT clinical imaging and interpretation.

Research Interest 1. Examining the use of Ga-68 DOTOTOC for PET imaging of neuroendocrine tumors.

2. Clinical molecular imaging of the cell surface receptors for epidermal growth factor (EGF).

3. Evaluating the role of highly targeted alpha-pharmaceuticals (eg: Radium 223) in the palliation of bone metastases.


Right from the beginning of his academic career at UPMC, Dr. Ashok Muthukrishnan has been very proactive in multiple research activities. He has been working with various other faculty members in the departments of pulmonary medicine and bioengineering in research involving aerosol drug delivery and aerosol-based pulmonary imaging in lung transplant recipients and cystic fibrosis patients. Their team has developed special nuclear imaging techniques that quantify pulmonary physiology including measurements of mucociliary clearance and liquid absorption in the airways. He has maintained funding support under the Imaging Airway Liquid Absorption in Cystic Fibrosis (RO1 PRO11060559) grant for the last several years.

He has published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, 60 scientific abstracts and/or oral presentations in national and international scientific conferences. These include the Society of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, Radiological society of North America, Molecular and Biology, Academy of Molecular imaging, European Association of Nuclear Medicine, American Head and Neck Society annual scientific meetings. His publications have been cited 115 times and his research involves multidisciplinary collaboration. He has co-authored a book chapter “Specialty Imaging: PET/CT: Oncologic Imaging with Correlative Diagnostic CT” and has also been invited to deliver guest lectures in evolving practice of nuclear imaging to international audience in India several times.

He has been serving as the editorial committee member in a few peer-reviewed journals and has served as invited reviewer for multiple international journals. He currently serves as a co-chair for the International Atomic Energy Agency- Society of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging (IAEA-SNMMI) sponsored global PET-CT Educational webinar series. The flagship American scientific society for nuclear medicine i.e. the Society of nuclear medicine’s scientific program committee has appointed him as the vice-chair for the abstract review process for their annual meeting for the past several years. The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) based in Pittsburgh had also invited him to be their medical director or the nuclear medicine technology program, which he has been efficiently overseeing for the last 3 years.

Selected Publications   1. Locke LW, Myerburg MM, Weiner DJ, Markovetz MR, Parker RS, Muthukrishnan A, Weber L, Czachowski MR, Lacy RT, Pilewski JM, Corcoran TE. Pseudomonas infection and mucociliary and absorptive clearance in the cystic fibrosis lung. Eur Respir J. 2016 May;47(5):1392-401. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01880-2015. Epub 2016 Mar 23

2. Mandal R, Muthukrishnan A, Ferris RL, de Almeida JR, Duvvuri U. Accuracy of early-phase versus dual-phase single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) in the localization of Parathyroid disease. Laryngoscope. 2015 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/lary.25020.

3. Pinnamaneni N, Shankar PR, Muthukrishnan A. (99m)Tc MIBI SPECT findings in parathyromatosis--a rare entity causing recurrent hyperparathyroidism. Clin Nucl Med. 2013 Nov;38(11).

4. Bural GG, Muthukrishnan A, Oborski MJ, Mountz JM. Improved Benefit of SPECT/CT Compared to SPECT Alone for the Accurate Localization of Endocrine and Neuroendocrine Tumors. Mol Imaging Radionucl Ther. 2012 Dec;21(3):91-6.

5. Pinnamaneni N, Muthukrishnan A. Left ventricular myocardium metastasis in a patient with primary renal cell carcinoma detected by 18F-FDG PET/CT. Clin Nucl Med. 2012 Jul;37(7).

6. Gohil H, Muthukrishnan A. Bronchial atresia on FDG PET/CT: imaging characteristics of a rare pulmonary pseudonodule. Clin Nucl Med 2012 Jan;37(1):86-7.

7. Corcoran TE, Thomas KM, Myerburg MM, Muthukrishnan A, Weber L, Frizzell R, Pilewski JM. Absorptive clearance of DTPA as an aerosol-based biomarker in the cystic fibrosis airway. Eur Respir J 2010 Apr;35(4):781-6. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00059009.

8. Khanna V, Nama S, Tailor R, Muthukrishnan A. Myelofibrosis on 18F-FDG-PET/CT in a case suspicious for post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Hell J Nucl Med. 2009 Sep-Dec;12(3):274-5.

9. Lai SY, Koppikar P, Thomas SM, Childs EE, Egloff AM, Seethala RR, Branstetter BF, Gooding WE, Muthukrishnan A, Mountz JM, Lui VW, Shin DM, Agarwala SS, Johnson R, Couture LA, Myers EN, Johnson JT, Mills G, Argiris A, Grandis JR. Intratumoral epidermal growth factor receptor antisense DNA therapy in head and neck cancer: first human application and potential antitumor mechanisms. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Mar 10;27(8):1235-42.

10. Narla VV, McCook BM, Muthukrishnan A. Serendipitous detection of urothelial carcinoma with F-18 FDG PET/CT: usefulness of low intensity PET window setting in areas of high physiologic FDG distribution. Clin Nucl Med. 2009 Jan;34(1):53-4.

11. Rajagopalan MS, Narla VV, Kanderi T, Muthukrishnan A. Para-hyoid ectopic parathyroid adenoma localized by Tc-99m MIBI SPECT. Clin Nucl Med. 2008 Dec;33(12):880-1.

12. Narla VV, Rajagopalan MS, Kanderi T, Muthukrishnan A. Atypical presentation of hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy on Tc-99m MDP bone scintigraphy. Clin Nucl Med. 2008 Oct;33(10):702-4.

13. Narla VV, Muthukrishnan A, Mountz JM. Diaschisis in cerebral mitochondrial disorder. Clin Nucl Med. 2008 Aug;33(8):531-4.

14. Oliver C, Muthukrishnan A, Mountz J, Deeb E, Johnson J, Deleyiannis F. Interpretability of PET/CT imaging in head and neck cancer patients following composite mandibular resection and osteocutaneous free flap reconstruction. Head Neck. 2008 Feb;30(2):187-93.

15. Muthukrishnan A, Bajoghli M, Mountz JM. Delayed development of radiation vasculopathy of the brain stem confirmed by F-18 FDG PET in a case of anaplastic astrocytoma. Clin Nucl Med. 2007 Jul;32(7):527-31.

16. Muthukrishnan A,Joyce J,Islam M. Follicular Hyperplasia: A Potential False Positive Finding on PET/CT Imaging in the Evaluation of Lymphoma. Clin Nucl Med 2006 July 31(7):401-402.

17. Bajoghli M , Muthukrishnan A, Mountz JM. Posterior Bulge Sign for Parathyroid Adenoma on Tc-99m MIBI SPECT. Clin Nucl Med. 2006;31:470-1.

18. Ojha B, Muthukrishnan A, Raman AK, Satya R, Mahone T, Forero-Torres A. Diffuse F-18 FDG uptake in skeletal muscles secondary to chills resulting from sepsis: a cause for underestimation of viable tumor. Clin Nucl Med. 2004 Sep;29(9):600-1.

19. Muthukrishnan A, Shanthly N, Kumar S. Afferent loop syndrome: the role of Tc-99m mebrofenin hepatobiliary scintigraphy. Clin Nucl Med. 2000 Jun;25(6):492-4.


1. Muthukrishnan A, Blodgett T Specialty Imaging: PET/CT: Oncologic Imaging with Correlative Diagnostic CT. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1 edition (December 1, 2008): English ISBN-10: 1931884188 ISBN-13: 978-1931884181.

2. Shankar PR, Ferris J, Muthukrishnan A. Asymptomatic ileal carcinoid with mesenteric extension. Case in Point. 2012.

3. PET adds definition to brain tumor diagnostics Published on online journal Physicians Practice January 01, 2007 Source URL:

4. Researchers continue to refine high-grade brain tumor diagnostics - Published December 06, 2006 at Rheumatology network Source URL:

5. J.OMalley, A.Muthukrishnan, S.Khullar. Nuclear Medicine Case of the day: Teaching cases for Society of Nuclear Medicine. 53rd Annual Meeting Society of Nuclear Medicine San Diego, CA June 3-7, 2006

6. J OMalley J, A Muthukrishnan, G Deutsch, BC Ojha. RSNA 2004 Nuclear Medicine Case of the Day. 90th Scientific Assembly and Annual meeting, Chicago,IL November 28-December 3, 2004.

7. Muthukrishnan A, Almeida N, Orthner H. Integrated Information Technologies for Emergency Medical Care Informatics for the National Heart Attack Alert Program. International Mobile Health Association Conference, New Orleans, Nov 2002.

Honors and  
2006 - Fellow of the Year for 2005-06 Award
Dept of Radiology
University of Pittsburgh Medical center

2004 - Certificate of Merit
In recognition of excellence
90th RSNA Radiologic Scientific meeting Chicago, IL

2004-05 - Chief Resident
Nuclear med residency
University of Alabama at Birmingham

2003 - Outstanding Student Award
Master of Science in Health Informatics Program
University of Alabama at Birmingham

1992-93 - President
Medical Student Council
Chengalpattu Med College Tamilnadu, India
PubMed Publications   See a listing of publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of medicine.