SALT LAKE CITY?Chester A. Mathis, Ph.D., director of the PET facility in the department of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award. Mathis was presented the award by SNM?a leading molecular imaging and nuclear medicine society?during its 57th Annual Meeting, June 5, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Paul C. Aebersold Award recognizes outstanding achievement in basic science applied to nuclear medicine. It was first awarded in 1973.
“Dr. Mathis has been selected for this award for his long-standing work in the field of neuroimaging,” said Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A., chair of the SNM Awards Committee and past president of SNM. “His scientific research in molecular imaging is important to changing the way we view Alzheimer’s disease and holds great promise for enabling physicians to identify patients at risk sooner.”
Mathis received the award, named for Paul C. Aebersold?a pioneer in the biologic and medical application of radioactive materials and the first director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Division of Isotope Development?at the plenary session of SNM’s Annual Meeting. SNM’s Awards Committee selects recipients.
“It is a real honor to be selected for this award,” Mathis said. “I am grateful to my colleagues in the profession for their support, and I look forward to continuing this research in order to further advance molecular imaging and nuclear medicine.”
Mathis, who has been a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh since 1992, primarily conducts research on developing positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracers to visualize biological processes that take place in the body?especially how the brain functions. Over the past 25 years, he has focused on the development of radiotracers to image the serotonin and dopamine neuroreceptor systems, as well as agents to evaluate other aspects of normal and abnormal function in the central nervous system using PET imaging techniques.
A major accomplishment for Mathis occurred when he and William E. Klunk, M.D., Ph.D., of the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, worked together to devise a PET radiotracer capable of imaging beta-amyloid?a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Mathis and Klunk developed a new class of radiopharmaceutical agents, among which is Pittsburgh Compound-B, to non-invasively assess beta-amyloid load in the living human brain using PET imaging methodology.
The results of these studies found that beta-amyloid imaging might provide pre-symptomatic detection of Alzheimer’s neuropathology and more accurate differential diagnosis of other dementias (by revealing the presence or absence of beta-amyloid plaques).
Mathis completed his undergraduate training at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. He then attended the University of California, Davis, and was awarded a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1979. Dr. Mathis completed post-doctoral training at Crocker Nuclear Laboratory in Davis, Calif., and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, in Radiochemistry. Mathis was a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory from 1983 to 1992, and moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1992. Mathis currently serves as a professor of radiology, pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, and director for the PET Facility at the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored or coauthored more than 180 journal articles and book chapters and has given more than 125 scientific presentations.
Mathis was recognized last year by The Alzheimer’s Association with the 2009 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Award for his outstanding contributions to the research, care and advocacy of Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caregivers, the 2008 Potamkin Prize by the American Academy of Neurology for research in Alzheimer’s and related diseases and the 2009 Kuhl-Lassen Award by SNM’s Brain Imaging Council.