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Bernd Pichler, Ph.D.
Department Head, Preclinical Imaging & Radiopharmacy
University of Tubingen

Plenary Session:  Role of Quantitative Preclinical Imaging to Enhance Precision Health and Medicine
Sunday, May 14 – 8:00pm

Prof. Dr. Bernd Pichler is head of the Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Clinic of Radiology, University of Tübingen, Germany. Dr. Pichler studied electrical engineering with a focus on biomedical engineering and cybernetics at the Technical University of Munich. He finished his diploma thesis in 1997 at the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics, Munich and the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technical University of Munich, in the field of detector development for small animal positron emission tomography. He earned his Ph.D. in physics at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technical University of Munich, in 2002 and subsequently worked as Assistant Biomedical Research Engineer (Assistant Research Professor) in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Simon Cherry at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA, for two years. Since 2005 he is head of the Laboratory for Preclinical Imaging and Imaging Technology at the Department of Radiology, University of Tübingen, and received the venia legendi (habilitation in experimental radiology) from the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen in 2007. In December 2007, Dr. Pichler accepted the call of the University of Tübingen for a full (W3) professorship in “Preclinical Imaging and Imaging Technology.”  In 2008 he became head of the Radiopharmacy and in 2011 both, the Laboratory for Preclinical Imaging of the Werner Siemens-Foundation and the Radiopharmacy joined, to become the Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, with Prof. Pichler as head of the department.
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Sanjay Jain, M.D.
Associate Professor, Pediatrics & International Health
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Plenary Session:  “Barriers” Associated with Preclinical Imaging… Biosafety in the Imaging Lab
Monday, May 15 – 8:00am 

Sanjay K. Jain, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and International Health at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He directs the Center for Infection and Inflammation Imaging Research and is a member of the Center for TB Research at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Jain also directs the Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellowship program. His primary research interests include the development of novel imaging technologies for bacterial infections, pediatric tuberculosis (TB) and TB meningitis. Of note, he recently led the team that treated a 2-year-old US-child, with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, which is extremely dangerous and challenging to treat. Dr. Jain’s laboratory utilizes small animal models to develop and test novel radiopharmaceutical imaging methods (CT, PET, SPECT) to diagnose and monitor infections and to study disease pathogenesis. Several novel tracers developed in his laboratory are now being tested in first-in-human studies. For example, they recently developed a bacterial-specific PET tracer to noninvasively detect infections due to Enterobacteriaceae, the most common cause of Gram-negative bacterial infections in humans and a frequent cause of serious multidrug-resistant, hospital-acquired infections.

Dr. Jain is funded though several grants. Notably, he is also the recipient of the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2009) and more recently the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award (2014). Dr. Jain is the current chair of the Infectious Diseases subgroup at the World Molecular Imaging Society and serves as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals and NIH study panels.


Malgorzata Klosek, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Construction & Instruments
National Institutes of Health

Discussion Group:   Shared Instruments for Small Animal Imaging: The ORIP/NIH View
Monday, May 15 – 9:00am

Malgorzata Klosek is the Director of the Division of Construction and Instruments (DCI) within the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Director, NIH. DCI supports and manages the portfolio of grant applications for acquisition of state-of-the-art biomedical shared instrumentation (S10 Programs) and for upgrading, renovating and expanding research infrastructure and facilities.

Before joining DCI in 2013, Dr. Klosek served as a scientific review officer at the Center for Scientific Review at the NIH, first in the Bioengineering Sciences and Technology Integrated Review Group (IRG) and then in the Surgical Sciences, Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering IRG.

Dr. Klosek received her M.S. degree in applied mathematics from Warsaw Technical University and her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In her research in applications of stochastic differential equations, she collaborated with biophysicists, chemists, engineers and economists. She was an Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, before coming to NIH in 2003.

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Jack Hoppin, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & CEO

Plenary Session:  Multi-Modal, Multi-Resolution Translational Imaging in Drug Discovery and Development
Monday, May 15 – 10:30am

Dr. Hoppin is the Co-Founder and CEO of inviCRO. Dr. Hoppin holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona and worked as an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellow at the Research Center Jülich, Germany. Prior to co-founding inviCRO in 2008, Dr. Hoppin served as the VP of Imaging Systems at Bioscan, Inc. He has been working in imaging research for more than 15 years. As an active member of the imaging community, Dr. Hoppin is a member of the World Molecular Imaging Society Board of Trustees.

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Susan Meyn, B.S.
Director, Research Resources and Planning
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Discussion Group:  VUMC Core Facilities: Operation and Oversight of Shared Resources
Monday, May 15 – 1:30pm

Susan Meyn is the director for Research Resources and Planning in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Office of Research.  In that role, she facilitates access to research infrastructure, contributes to the development of competitive research grant applications and enables collaborations across biomedical science disciplines.  She is responsible for coordinating scientific oversight of VUMC’s research cores and shared resources, and provides financial, compliance and operational leadership for cores, research strategic planning efforts and new initiatives across the academic enterprise.

Susan has also been active in the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) since 2010, serving as the founding co-chair for the ABRF Core Administrators Network Coordinating Committee, and as member of the organizing committee for the Midwest Association of Core Directors (MWACD), the first ABRF regional chapter.  She is currently the chair of the Program Committee for the ABRF 2017 annual meeting to be held in San Diego in March this year.

Susan was raised and educated the Washington D.C. area, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.; she has over 25 years of experience managing laboratories, mentoring students and trainees, and supporting biomedical research in clinical, NIH and academic settings.  Susan moved to Nashville in 2001 to take a position at VUMC managing a research laboratory for the Vanderbilt University Center for Structure Biology, including several small core labs. Susan shifted into her current research leadership role with the VUMC Office of Research in 2007.

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Michael Nickels, Ph.D.
Technical Director, Radiochemistry Core Laboratory
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Plenary Session:  Automation in Radiopharmaceutical Facilities
Monday, May 15 – 2:30pm

Michael Nickels earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Professor John Katzenellenbogen.  After completion of an industrial post-doctoral appointment, Dr. Nickels became part of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a researcher in the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Nickels joined the Vanderbilt faculty and accepted the role of Technical Director of the Radiochemistry Core Laboratory where he oversees the development of new radiochemistry techniques, production of preclinical imaging agents and the production of human research drugs.  His current research focuses on the development of new and novel radiopharmaceuticals and the necessary labeling techniques used to incorporate radionuclides.  In addition to these radiopharmaceutical research interests, Dr. Nickels has worked on the development and evaluation of molecular imaging agents and methodologies for the incorporation of complex/sensitive molecules onto imaging agents.  As an integral part of overseeing new radiopharmaceutical development, automation within the production lab environment has become an essential aspect for all new and existing drugs and as such, the acquisition, utilization, maintenance and optimization 
of all commercially available platforms is at the forefront of duties overseen by Dr. Nickels.
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Patrick Phelps, Ph.D.

Founder, CEO & President, Sofie Biosciences
Board Member, Momentum Biosciences

Discussion Group:  An Industry Perspective on Trends in the Translation of Molecular Medicine
Monday, May 15 – 4:00pm

In 2009, Patrick joined a group of scientists, physicians, and other industry professionals to form a company named Sofie Biosciences (SOFIE) to make the PET scan more broadly available to researchers and clinicians through new generations of molecular imaging diagnostics and devices.  He spends the majority of his time focusing on how to grow the business and making sure the company’s products solve customers’ needs.  More traditional responsibilities include strategic planning, determining and enforcing product requirements, fundraising, market assessment and business case analysis, and commercial activities. 

A few key accomplishments at SOFIE include:

  • Grew company from a spinout out of UCLA/Caltech to an operating company.
  • Raised $16.85M in investments through equity rounds and grants.
  • Attracted top talent and built a proud culture of great people.
  • Products used by 60 sites around the world.
  • Partnered pre-clinical imaging business with PerkinElmer. 

Patrick also spends a small amount of his time helping out on high-level issues with running a biotech incubator named Momentum Biosciences.  Momentum is committed to accelerating the transfer of new technologies from academic laboratories to the commercial environments.

Prior to joining SOFIE, Patrick worked as part of a talented team who built the pre-clinical molecular imaging at Siemens Healthcare where he helped drive the adoption of two generations of small animal PET, CT and SPECT imaging systems into the life science and pharmaceutical marketplaces.  He also held various positions at CTI Molecular Imaging (acquired by Siemens) in sales, product management, and marketing of clinical PET/CT scanners.  Patrick graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Colorado.

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Mingfeng Bai, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Plenary Session:  Targeted Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer Treatment
Tuesday, May 16 – 8:00am

Dr. Mingfeng Bai received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 2007, followed by three years of postdoctoral training at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (St. Louis, Missouri). He started working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in October 2010, and recently joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in March 2017. Dr. Bai’s laboratory is focused on the development and evaluation of new molecular probes for diagnostic imaging and therapy, particularly fluorescence imaging agents and photosensitizers with the ultimate goal of moving basic science discoveries to the clinic.


Cristian Badea, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, & Medical Physics
Duke University

Plenary Session:  Current and Future Role of X-Ray/CT in Preclinical Imaging
Tuesday, May 16 – 9:00am 

Cristian T. Badea, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering and faculty in the Medical Physics Department at Duke University in Durham, NC. As Associate Director of the Center for In Vivo Microscopy, Dr. Badea leads a team of researchers focused on projects seeking to extend CT imaging in the temporal and spectral domains thus expanding its role from morphological to functional or even molecular imaging. He has particular expertise in developing in vivo micro-CT methods for quantitative assessment of cardiac diseases and cancer. He is also engaged in developing methods to reduce radiation dose using sophisticated image reconstruction methods. Dr. Badea is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed publications.
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Ming Zhao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Medicine-Cardiology
Northwestern University

Plenary Session:  The Noninvasive Imaging of Tissue Injury – Technological Development and Potential Utilities
Tuesday, May 16 – 10:30am

Dr. Zhao received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at Harvard Medical School. He served as a faculty member at the Medical College of Wisconsin before joining Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern. Dr. Zhao’s research focuses on the dynamics of mammalian cellular membranes. Findings from these research efforts contribute to our understanding in the pathogenesis of human diseases and lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Richard Bouchard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Imaging Physics
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Plenary Session:  Preclinical Imaging Modalities Using Sound and Light
Tuesday, May 16 – 1:30pm

Richard Bouchard received his B.S. degree in biomedical and electrical engineering and cultural anthropology from Duke University in 2004 and received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2010. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Ultrasound Imaging and Therapeutics Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012.  Dr. Bouchard is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Imaging Physics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where he directs the Photoacoustic Imaging Research Lab and serves as Core Leader for ultrasound imaging in MD Anderson’s Small Animal Imaging Core Facility. His research interests include preclinical and clinical photoacoustic-ultrasonic imaging and ultrasound-based elasticity imaging.

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