PET Research

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a medical imaging method which uses a PET camera to measure the concentration and movement of a radiotracer in the living body. PET Research at Brookhaven is part of the Center for Translational Neuroimaging.

CTN Director, Joanna Fowler

Over the past 30 years, PET research at Brookhaven has focused in the integration of basic research in radiotracer chemistry with the tools of neuroscience to develop new scientific tools for applications in human health. Major areas of medical research include: drug and alcohol addiction; the development of a new strategy for addiction treatment; obesity and eating disorders; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); aging and neurodegenerative disorders. There is a special commitment to the development of radiotracers for imaging specific neurotransmitter systems in the brain including the dopamine (see figure), norepinephrine and nicotine systems. There are also new efforts in integrating microPET and microdialysis as a new tool for basic research in the neurosciences; in integrating PET and MRI to study brain development and in biomedical engineering targeted to the design and development of a new PET camera to image the awake animal brain.

Dopamine is a natural brain chemical which is involved in movement, in motivation and in the sense of well-being and pleasure. This a simplified cartoon of a dopamine cell showing radiotracers and PET images of specific elements of the dopamine cell including receptors to transmit the signal and transporters and enzymes to terminate the signal. Brain function is imaged with 18FDG.

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Last Modified: May 27, 2009
Please forward all questions about this site to: Kathy Folkers