| United States|
| Abass Alavi|
| Tabriz, Iran|
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Radiology
Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award (2004)
Benedict Cassen Prize (2012)
University of Pennsylvania
Tehran University of Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Shiraz University, University of the Sciences
Abass Alavi Wikipedia
Abass Alavi (Persian: عباس علوی) is an Iranian-American physician-scientist specializing in the field of molecular imaging, most notably in the imaging modality of positron emission tomography (PET). In August 1976, he became the first to perform human PET studies of the brain and whole body using the radiotracer [18F]Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). Alavi holds the position of Professor of Radiology and Neurology, as well as Director of Research Education in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Over a career spanning five decades, he has amassed over 2,300 publications and 50,000 citations, earning an h-index of 111 and placing his publication record in the top percentile of scientists.
Abass Alavi was born in Tabriz, the largest city in Iranian Azerbaijan. After graduating from high school in Tabriz, Alavi moved to Tehran and received his medical degree from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 1964. He began his training in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical Center and the Philadelphia VA Hospital in 1966. Following subspecialization in hematology/oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, Alavi started his education in medical imaging by enrolling in the radiology department at the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He joined the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1971 as a research fellow in nuclear medicine, and was soon appointed to the faculty. He currently holds appointments as Professor and Director of Research Education in the Department of Radiology.1964: Medical doctorate(MD), University of Tehran, School of Medicine
1966: Intern, Rotating Internal Medicine, A. Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
1968: Resident, Internal Medicine, VA Medical Center
1969: Fellow, Hematology- Oncology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
1970: Resident, Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston
Alavi began his work in tomographic imaging under the guidance of Dr. David Kuhl. He and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania were pioneers in performing modern tomographic imaging by utilizing single gamma emitting radionuclides (Single Photon Emission Computer Tomography/SPECT). In 1973, he—along with his colleagues Dr. Kuhl and Dr. Martin Reivich—were the first scientists to conceive the idea of labeling deoxyglucose with positron-emitting fluroide (F-18), leading to the development of FDG. In August 1976, Alavi became the first to administer FDG to a human being and acquire tomographic images of the brain and whole body. He was also among the first to utilize Iodine-123 in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, MIBG in the assessment of pheochromocytoma, radiolabled WBCs in the evaluation of infection, and 99mTc in the detection of gastrointestinal bleeds, among a host of other discoveries.
Alavi has been associated with the University of Pennsylvania for all of his career, beginning with a fellowship in Nuclear Medicine in 1971-1973. He was promoted to Professor of Radiology in 1982, and served as Chief of the Division of Nuclear Medicine from 1979 to 2006. Since then, he has been the Director of Research Education in the Department of Radiology.
Alavi has performed numerous research studies utilizing FDG since its inception. Furthermore, soon after the introduction of CT in the early '70s and MRI in the early '80s, Alavi has conducted research that combines PET with these imaging modalities. He is an expert in modern imaging techniques and the clinical applications of PET imaging for the detection of cancer and other disorders including dementia, seizures, cardiovascular disease, and infection.
Alavi served as a member and chairman of scientific study sections at the NIH and American Cancer Society. He has contributed over 2,300 publications to the literature, which have garnered approximately 50,000 citations—both records for faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania. He has trained and mentored countless students in modern imaging techniques, and many of his former students and research fellows now occupy leadership positions in medical imaging across the world.1971-1973: Fellow, Nuclear Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
1973-1974: Instructor in Radiology, Dept. of Radiology, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
1974-1977: Assistant Professor Radiology, Dept. of Radiology, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
1977-1982: Associate Professor of Radiology, Dept. of Radiology, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
1979-2006: Chief, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
1979-1991: Co-Director, Positron Emission Tomography Center, University of Pennsylvania
1991-2006: Medical Director, Positron Emission Tomography Center, University of Pennsylvania
1982–present: Professor of Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
1984–present: Associate Director, Center for the Study of Aging, University of Pennsylvania
2006–present: Director of Research Education, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a medical imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of molecular processes in the body. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted as a result of the annihilation of positrons emitted from radionuclides (tracers), which are used to label biologically active molecules.
One of the factors most responsible for the widespread adoption of positron imaging was the development of radiopharmaceuticals. In particular, the development of labeled 2-Fludeoxyglucose (18F) (2FDG) through the collaboration between scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, was a major factor in expanding the scope of PET imaging. The compound was first administered to two normal human volunteers by Alavi in August 1976 at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1999, after decades of research demonstrating the unique and versatile utility of PET and the functional data it provides, the modality was approved for reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and rapidly became a cornerstone of the evaluation of a host of diseases, most notably cancers.
It is now well established that without the introduction of FDG to medicine, the field of molecular imaging with PET would have been confined to major research institutions, precluding its current widespread clinical applications. In addition, FDG has resulted in the exploration of numerous biologically important compounds in research and drug development.
Alavi is the recipient of many awards and distinctions, among which are the highest distinctions in nuclear medicine: the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award given by the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the Cassen Prize of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, and honorary degrees from the University of Bologna, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and Shiraz University in Iran. The de Hevesy Award  from the Society of Nuclear Medicine was given to Alavi for his pioneering work in the development of positron emission tomography.
He is an internationally renowned expert in modern imaging techniques and in the clinical applications of PET imaging for the detection of cancer as well as neurological, cardiovascular, and infectious disorders.1971-73: Postdoctoral NIH Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine
1982: Member, Steering and Executive Committees, Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis,Chairman, Nuclear Medicine Working Group
1984: Who’s Who, Frontiers of Science and Technology
1984-88: Trustee, Society of Nuclear Medicine
1985: Fellow of the Center for the Study of Aging, University of Pennsylvania
1985: Fellow, American College of Nuclear Physicians
1992: Fred Joliot visiting Professor at Orsay, France
1992: Evan-Jone Memorial Lecture, U of MDS, London
1994: IVRA - Keynote speaker
1994: Taylor Lectureship award - Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Maryland
1995: Benedict Cassen Memorial Symposium, CA
1996: 6th Asia & Oceania Congress - award for Outstanding Contributions
1997: Sarabhai Memorial Oration award - Society of Nuclear Medicine of India
1999: The 11th Annual Berson-Yalow Award - Greater NY Chapter Society of Nuclear Medicine
1999: Best Doctors in America
2001: One of two Finalists, “Most influential Radiology Researchers, AuntMinnie.com’s Annual Event to recognize Excellence in Radiology
2001: Distinguished Service Award, Indo-American Society of Nuclear Medicine , IASNM, for outstanding contribution to nuclear medicine and promotion of IASNM
2001: member, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
2001: Taplin Pioneer Award in Nuclear Medicine
2004: Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award, 51st Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine
2005: Member, (Ad Hoc Chairman), NIH/CSR/ZRG1 SBIB-Q50
2005: Chairman, NIH/CSR/ZRG1 SBIB-Q13
2006: Mentor of the Year Award, American College of Nuclear Medicine Physicians 
2006: Fellow, World Innovation Foundation
2007: Honorary Doctoral Degree (Laurea ad honorem, Medicina e Chirurgia), University of Bolognia, Italy
2007: Honorary PhD Degree in Molecular Biology, University of Shiraz
2007: Member, Honorary Editorial Board, Drug Design, Development and Therapy
2008: Member, Honorary Editorial Board, Journal of Receptor, Ligand and Channel Research, Dove Medical Press
2008: Life Member, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
2008: Honorary Doctoral Degree (DSc), University of the Sciences  in Philadelphia
2008: The most published and most cited faculty at PENN
2010: Member, College of CSR Reviewers, National Institute of Health
2011: Editor-in-Chief, Current Molecular Imaging
2012: Organizing Committee Member, International Conference & Exhibition on Personalized Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics
2012: Benedict Cassen Prize for Research in Nuclear Medicine, Annual Meeting of the SNM
2015: recipient of Gold Medal of City of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
2015: recipient of gold medal of National Institute for Medical Research Development, Tehran, Iran
Alavi has been a long-time supporter of educational and research opportunities for students in nuclear medicine. While his name is associated with the Alavi-Mandell Awards, which recognize trainees and young scientists who publish articles as senior authors in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, he also supports the Pilot Research Grants and the Bradley-Alavi Student Fellowship Awards. Bradley-Alavi Fellows are named in honor of the late Stanley E. Bradley, a professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a prominent researcher in the fields of renal physiology and liver disease, and Abass Alavi, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of the division of nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. funded by the Education and Research Foundation of the Society of Nuclear Medicine.