Nuclear Medicine

We are a vibrant, innovative section within the Department of Radiology whose mission is to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic patient studies, further clinical and basic science nuclear and molecular research, and serve as an important educational resource both within the University and community at large.

The Section is proud to offer the full spectrum of general nuclear and molecular imaging exams, from the standard bone and thyroid imaging to the harder to find, such as red cell mass calculations and several radioimmunotherapies. We also offer a wide variety of pediatric studies, which are supervised by a pediatric-trained staff, and specialize in pediatric renal imaging.

Our state of the art PET Center was the first permanent site in the Chicagoland area to offer hybrid PET/CT inline imaging. Since its inception several years ago, we have been at the forefront of neurologic and whole body oncologic PET/CT clinical and research imaging.

Finally, our nuclear cardiology clinic offers the latest in molecular cardiac imaging from gated myocardial perfusion scintigraphy utilizing attenuation correction to myocardial viability assessments and first-pass functional evaluations. A number of clinical research protocols are currently underway utilizing novel molecular cardiac tracers.

The section of nuclear medicine has three facilities within the hospital; each features state of the art equipment and has its own hotlab. In the first level of Mitchell hospital, general adult and pediatric nuclear medicine has recently undergone a complete renovation and now operates four gamma cameras and one gamma probe. One highlight is the Philips Skylight, a unique gantry-less robotic SPECT camera. The section was also one of the very first sites nationally to acquire the newly developed double-headed Philips Briteview. We are also looking forward to the arrival of two SPECT/CT cameras which will allow hybrid molecular / anatomic imaging for a number of radiotracers for more accurate diagnoses.

The cardiac nuclear section, located on the 5th floor of the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM), boasts three double headed SPECT cameras for cardiac perfusion imaging and a first-pass camera for radionuclide cardiac angiography. Our PET/CT center, located in the lower level of the DCAM, was the first permanent PET/CT center in the Chicagoland area. The section’s high resolution PET/CT camera has been offering the latest in clinical and research imaging for several years. We are looking forward to the acquisition of our second PET/CT camera and a cyclotron in the near future.

We are pleased to be the first in the region to offer Positron Emission Mammography (“PEM”). This exciting new modality can detect breast cancers and axillary metastases at a much smaller size than conventional mammography and even traditional PET imaging. We are currently offering this modality for routine clinical use and in several research capacities.

The section continues to build upon its rich tradition of nuclear and molecular imaging research, ranging from the basic science to the more clinically oriented. We are actively involved with a number of oncology PET/CT clinical trials to monitor responses to therapy of many cancers including breast, colorectal, lymphoma, and renal cell. Grant-funded projects include the NIH funded study to look at the relationship between reduced sleep and obesity with brain PET and a project to study the effects of diabetes on liver glucose metabolism with whole body PET. The section is also actively involved with evaluating novel computer aided diagnoses (CAD) in nuclear medicine and PET including temporal subtraction in bone scintigraphy and artificial neural networks in PET interpretation.


Daniel E. Appelbaum, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology
Section Cheif, Nuclear Medicine
Clinical Director of Nuclear Medicine and PET

Yonglin Pu, MD, PhD
Professor of Radiology

Christopher Straus, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology

Bill C. O’Brien-Penney, PhD
Associate Professor of Radiology
Clinical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine