Michael E. Phelps

University of California, Los Angeles


Primary Section: 31, Engineering Sciences
Membership Type: Member (elected 1999)

Research Interests

I developed the positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to provide in vivo molecular imaging of the biological basis of normal functions and diseases. The goal was to provide molecular assays for study of mammalian biology in the living subject, including humans. Molecular assays have been developed in my laboratory for imaging substrate metabolism, enzyme activity, transmitter synthesis, and receptor concentration and transporter systems. During the past 10 years, PET expanded from research to a clinical molecular diagnostic service for early diagnosis and improving the treatments of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, coronary artery disease, and cancer, including lung, colorectal, breast, ovarian, melanoma, and lymphoma. Most recently, we developed a microPET scanner for mice and in vivo methods for imaging expression of transplanted and endogenous genes. Molecular assays with microPET and human PET scanners provide the means to merge information from both settings to improve our under-standing of the biological nature and treatment of human disease. Most recently, we developed a microPET scanner for mice and in vivo methods for imaging expression of transplanted and endogenous genes. With the above assays, this provides an array of imaging procedures for studying the mammalian biology of the living, functioning state and diseases with transgenic, chimeric and human cell transplant models of disease in mice. Molecular therapies, including gene therapies, are studied in these model systems. Molecular assays with microPET and human PET scanners provide the means to merge information from both settings to improve our understanding of the biological nature and treatment of human disease.

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