Cai Research Group at the 2018 SNMMI Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

Cai Group

The Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Laboratory ( had another successful year at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia (June 2018). Current Cai Group members received a total of 11 awards, which is the new record for the group (previous record was 10 awards a few years ago).

Seven group members (Emily Ehlerding, Carolina Ferreira, Dawei Jiang, Dalong Ni, Bo Yu, Lei Kang, Weijun Wei) each received an SNMMI Travel Award to attend the meeting, out of twenty total travel awards given this year. Former Medical Physics PhD student of the Cai Group, Reinier Hernandez (now a postdoctoral scholar at UW-Madison under the supervision of Prof. Jamey Weichert), also received a Travel Award. In total, current Cai Group members gave 12 oral presentations and 4 posters.

At the SNMMI Annual Meeting, there are several Young Investigator Award (YIA) Symposiums where the best-scored abstracts of each track were selected to compete in the YIA symposium; the top three candidates are selected for YIA Awards after they present at the symposium. The Cai Group had two abstracts selected for YIA symposiums this year (1 in CMIIT YIA and 1 in RPSC YIA), and Carolina Ferreira received the 3rd Place CMIIT YIA Award. Of all the accepted SNMMI abstracts (~1800 total), a few of the best abstracts (~10 total) were selected for Press Release at the Annual Meeting. One of Dalong Ni's abstract was selected for Press Release this year.

At the SNMMI Annual Meeting, the Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (CASNMMI) had a competition for Young Scientist Award each year, and Dalong Ni received the 3rd prize for his abstract (he also received the 3rd prize in 2017 in Denver). Former PhD student of the Cai Group, Sixiang Shi (now postdoctoral scholar under the supervision of Prof. Chun Li at the MD Anderson Cancer Center), also received the 3rd prize.

Christopher G. England, a former post-doc in the Cai Group and currently a Managing Editor at the American Chemical Society overseeing 6-8 journals (such as Bioconjugate Chemistry, Molecular Pharmaceutics, etc.), received the SNMMI Alavi-Mandell Award for his 2017 publication in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, official journal of SNMMI.

At the SNMMI Annual Meeting, there are several summary sessions and highlight lectures where leaders in the field summarize the best abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting. Many of the Cai Group abstracts were presented in the highlight lecture.

Prof. Cai served on multiple committees/boards and played multiple roles at the Annual Meeting. Within SNMMI, Prof. Cai is the President of the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council (RPSC), Member of the SNMMI Committee on Awards, Committee on Councils and Centers, Committee on Scientific Program, the House of Delegates, and Committee on Radiopharmaceuticals.

There are 9 Tracks at the SNMMI Annual Meeting. Prof. Cai is one of the two Vice-Chairs of the "Molecular Targeting Probes - Radioactive & Nonradioactive" Track, overseeing/organizing the entire track. In addition, he is the Sub-Chair of RPSC Young Investigator Award (YIA) Symposium, as well as the Sub-Chair of "Preclinical Probes for Oncology" Category of the "Molecular Targeting Probes - Radioactive & Nonradioactive" Track.

Additionally, Prof. Cai was the Organizer & Moderator of the Continuing Education (CE) Session on "Michael J. Welch, PhD Award Lecture", Moderator of CE Session on "Molecular Imaging from Bench to Bedside", Organizer & Moderator of the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences/Molecular Imaging/CMIIT Basic Science Summary Session, Moderator of the RPSC YIA Symposium, and Co-Moderator of the Scientific Session "Preclinical Probes for Oncology I". Each of the above mentioned sessions were 90 minutes in length.

Many of Prof. Cai's former trainees attended the meeting. For example, Hao Hong (1st post-doc in the Cai Group, 2008-2014) has been an Assistant Professor of Radiology at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor for several years. Feng Chen, a former postdoc of the Cai Group (2012-2015) who is now a Senior Scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, also gave an Oral Presentation. Hyung-Jun Im, a former Fellow co-trained by Prof. Cai and Prof. Steve Cho (2015-2017) and now an Assistant Professor at Seoul National University in Korea, also attended the meeting, gave oral presentations, and moderated scientific sessions.

In total, 12 past/present Cai Group members attended the SNMMI Annual Meeting, a new record for the group (previous record was 10 last year in Denver).