Brookhaven Chemist Lisa Muench Honored by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

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Lisa Muench uses a robotic arm to manipulate a target for producing isotopes for medical imaging and industry.

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) has recognized Lisa Muench, a chemistry associate at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, with an award for her outstanding work with molecular imaging. The Center for Molecular Imaging Innovation and Translation (CMIIT) Laboratory Professionals Award recognizes non-Ph.D. researchers who are making important contributions in the field.

Since 2013, Muench has been working in the Collider-Accelerator Department (CAD) at Brookhaven with the Medical Isotope Research & Production (MIRP) program to prepare radioisotopes for use in nuclear medicine and industry. Isotopes produced by the MIRP program—such as strontium-82, used in heart stress tests—directly benefit about 300,000 patients a year. 

“This award is an honor and will bring more attention to the important work that MIRP is doing, and how this work impacts the entire world,” Muench said. 

Before her research with MIRP, Muench worked from 2005 to 2013 with renowned Brookhaven chemist Joanna Fowler, now a Scientist Emeritus, on the groundbreaking development of radiotracers—molecules containing radioactive isotopes that were tailored to track biochemistry. This famous work, funded by the National Institutes of Health, used positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and other forms of imaging technology to study the physiology of the brain and understand illnesses like obesity, drug and alcohol addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and ADHD. 

Cathy Cutler, director of MIRP, and David Schlyer, a colleague of Fowler and also an Emeritus of Brookhaven, nominated Muench for the award. Muench will receive a cash prize of $1000 and free registration to the annual SNMMI meeting in San Diego, California, where she will be recognized for her work. 

“I’d like to thank Cathy and David for this wonderful opportunity to work at Brookhaven and contribute to the health of this country,” she said. “It brings me so much joy.” 

MIRP is funded by the DOE Office of Science.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  For more information, please visit

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