Mailed 11/23/98

Contact: Diane Greenberg,(516) 344-2347
or Mona S. Rowe, (516)344-5056



Upton, NY - Yu-Shin Ding, a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded tenure. Tenure appointments recognize independent accomplishment of a high order in the performance of original research or other intellectually creative activity appropriate to the purposes of the Laboratory.

Dr. Ding has contributed to the development of radiotracers for an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET), a technology that measures metabolism in the brain, thereby providing images that reflect the brain's function. In her collaborative PET studies, Dr. Ding has made contributions to the understanding of biochemical processes in addiction, aging and drug action.

To document changes visually in the brain, PET researchers inject volunteer subjects with an extremely small amount of a short-lived radiotracer which binds to specific brain sites. The radiotracer emits energy that is recorded by detectors in the PET instrument, which signal the radiotracer's location and concentration to a computer. The computer translates these data into an image of brain activity.

Using PET, Dr. Ding has studied Ritalin, a drug used to treat people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her many scientific accomplishments include finding that only one of two mirror-image molecules in Ritalin binds to a molecular target in the brain. She also developed a
radiotracer for the active form of Ritalin, which has been used in many PET studies related to Parkinson's disease and normal aging. In addition, a number of research methods she has developed have been used by many PET research groups.

Dr. Ding received a National Institutes of Health Independent Research Support & Transition award, 1996-2001, to pursue a new area of PET research. Her winning application described her development of the first radiotracer for visualizing an enzyme known as COMT, which is elevated in certain breast tumors. This radiotracer has potential application as a diagnostic tool for detecting
breast tumors. COMT is also an important molecular target in developing drugs to treat Parkinson's disease.

After earning a B.S. in chemistry at the National Taiwan University in 1979, Dr. Ding received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1987, and, in the same year, she joined Brookhaven.

Dr. Ding was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Radiopharmaceutical Science Council and served on a National Institutes on Aging Ad-hoc Program Project Review Committee. She has authored more than 70 scientific journal articles and book chapters, and holds several patents. She has achieved international recognition for her accomplishments in both tracer development and interdisciplinary neuroscience research.