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Brookhaven Researcher Awarded Distinguished Scientist Fellowship

UPTON, NY - Brookhaven National Laboratory chemist Joanna Fowler is a winner in the first Distinguished Scientist Fellowship competition sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science.

Photo of Joanna Fowler

Click on the image to download a high-resolution version. Joanna Fowler (Click image to download hi-res version)

Fowler began her career at Brookhaven as a post-doctoral fellow in 1969. She earned a B.A. in chemistry from the University of South Florida in 1963, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Colorado in 1967. Fowler's scientific excellence and achievements have been recognized by prestigious awards, including the American Chemical Society's Garvan-Olin Medal, the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Paul Aebersold Award, DOE's E.O. Lawrence Award in Life Sciences, the American Chemical Society's Glen T. Seaborg Award, election to the National Academies of Science in 2004 and the Distinguished Basic Scientist award from the Academy of Moleculer Imaging in 2005. She holds eight patents for radiolabeling procedures.

"Dr. Fowler is one of the real stars in our constellation of scientists," said Ari Patrinos, BER's associate director. "She has advanced the field of medical imaging in many significant ways. This award is a small token of our gratitude and support for her."

Fowler's research has led to fundamental new knowledge, important scientific tools and broad impact in the application of nuclear medicine to diagnostics and health. She has worked for much of her career developing radiotracers for brain imaging to understand the mechanisms underlying drug addiction. Most recently, she has been engaged in developing methods to understand the relationship between genes, brain chemistry, and behavior. Fowler played a central role in the development of a fluorine-18, labeled glucose molecule (called FDG) enabling human brain glucose metabolism to be measured noninvasively. This positron emitting-molecule, together with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, has become a mainstay for brain-imaging studies in schizophrenia, aging, and cancer. Fowler's interest in monoamine oxidase (MAO), one of the two major enzymes involved in neurotransmitter regulation in the brain and peripheral organs, led her to develop the first radiotracers for imaging MAO in the human brain and in peripheral organs like the lungs and kidneys. This led to the discovery that smokers have reduced brain and lung MAO and to many studies relating reduced MAO to some of the behavioral and epidemiological features of smoking.

Fowler and three other BER Distinguished Fellows will each receive $250,000 per year for up to five years, contingent on continued employment at the laboratory at which each received the award.

2005-386  |  Media & Communications Office

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