SNMMI Press Releases
July 6, 2004
Abass Alavi Awarded the 2004 de Hevesy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nuclear Medicine
|Abass Alavi with the brain scanner used in some of his pioneering research.|
Abass Alavi, MD, professor of radiology and chief of the Division of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, has been named the recipient of the 2004 Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Dr. Alavi was chosen by Dr. Henry Royal, President of the Society, for pioneering work that has contributed to the advancement of nuclear medicine world-wide. The award was presented at the 51st Annual Conference of the Society of Nuclear Medicine during the first plenary session on Sunday, June 20, in Philadelphia, PA.
Each year the Society presents the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award to an individual (or individuals) for outstanding contributions to the field of Nuclear Medicine. The award is named after Dr. de Hevesy, who is recognized as the father of nuclear medicine, and is the author of several important books and papers on radiochemistry. Dr. de Hevesy received the 1943 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in determining the absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of radioactive compounds in the human body. This research laid the foundation of nuclear medicine as a tool for diagnosis and therapy.
Alavi joined the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1971 as a research fellow in nuclear medicine after completing his education in internal medicine, hematology and radiology. He soon thereafter was appointed to Penn’s faculty where he currently holds appointments as professor and chief, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology. He is also Medical Director of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and an internationally recognized expert in modern imaging techniques and the clinical applications of PET imaging for the detection of cancer and other serious disorders including dementia, seizures, cardiovascular disease, and infection.
"Dr. Alavi’s crowning achievement has been his pioneering work in positron emission tomography," said Dr. Royal. "We speak of molecular imaging, and PET specifically, as ‘The Future,’ but he had the foresight to study PET images as early as the 1970s. If you examine nuclear medicine you will find his name. It is with great pleasure that we extend our congratulations to Dr. Alavi on being awarded this prestigious honor."
Alavi’s contributions to nuclear medicine extend well beyond his own research. He and his wife, Dr. Jane Alavi, have been long-time supporters of educational and research opportunities for students in nuclear medicine. While their names are associated with the Alavi-Mandell Awards, which recognize trainees and young scientists who publish articles as senior authors in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, their generosity also supports the Pilot Research Grants and the Bradley-Alavi Student Fellowship Awards funded by the Education and Research Foundation for the Society of Nuclear Medicine. The Alavis not only continue to contribute generously to the Foundation but persuade other colleagues to join them in their support of these important endeavors. He is similarly generous with his time: he serves on the Society’s Education and Research Foundation Board of Directors and is also involved in numerous Society activities.
"I am honored that I was selected by the Society of Nuclear Medicine for such a distinction," said Alavi. "I share this recognition with my family, my mentors, and with so many students with whom I have worked over the past three decades. This is truly a highlight of my career."
The Society of Nuclear Medicine’s 51st Annual Meeting allows over 3,600 nuclear medicine physicians, scientists, pharmacists, and technologists to share research, learn about the latest breakthroughs and discuss the critical concerns facing nuclear medicine today. Alavi’s group is presenting over 60 scientific communications during the Society’s annual meeting. "This is all due to the efforts of my wonderful students who work in our group," he explained. "I am very proud of the contributions of these young talents."
The Society of Nuclear Medicine is an international scientific and professional organization founded in 1954 to promote the science, technology and practical application of nuclear medicine. Its 15,000 members are physicians, technologists and scientists specializing in the research and practice of nuclear medicine. In addition to publishing journals, newsletters and books, the Society also sponsors international meetings and workshops designed to increase the competencies of nuclear medicine practitioners and to promote new advances in the science of nuclear medicine.
PENN Medicine is a $2.5 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
Penn Health System consists of four hospitals (including its flagship Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report), a faculty practice plan, a primary-care provider network, three multispecialty satellite facilities, and home health care and hospice.