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WMIC 2018 Young Investigator of the Year Awarded to Caltech’s Dr. George J. Lu for Research in Combining MRI and Ultrasound Technologies
Date:10/20/2018

Dr. George Lu’s passion and excitement in his pioneering work combining MRI and Ultrasound technologies earned him the Young Investigator Award for his abstract entitled “Acoustically Modulated MRI of Gas-filled Protein Nanostructures”.

Lu’s research applies the technique of protein engineering to the development of new imaging and therapeutic methods. His approach has been to take a unique class of genetically encoded gas-filled protein nanostructures, called gas vesicles, and show that their MRI contrast can be turned off in situ by a brief pulse of ultrasound. Such “acoustically erasable” agents and the resulting background-free MR images overcome a major problem of MRI, which is the contrast agents are often difficult to be distinguished from the MRI contrast of our own tissues.

“George represents a very unique type of researcher who can combine deep physical thinking with molecular and cellular engineering to create breakthroughs like the work resulting in this award. I can’t wait to see what he develops in his future laboratory as an independent investigator,” said Dr. Mikhail Shapiro, 2018 WMIS Roger Tsien Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology Recipient, WMIS Board Member, and Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology. “The contrast mechanism developed by George could help basic researchers and clinicians track the location and function of engineered cells in the body with greater certainty.”

Dr. Lu and his team do plan to extend the study by continuing to improve the imaging protocol, instrumentation, and the properties of the contrast agents, and they hope to apply them to disease-related studies.

“Receiving the Young Investigator of the Year Award at WMIC is a great honor,” said Dr. George J. Lu, PhD. “I would be happy to share the method with other labs and work together towards applications in disease diagnosis and imaging. Looking forward, I am applying for a faculty position to establish my independent laboratory, and will continue to develop protein-based molecular agents for both biological imaging and control.”

Two additional young investigators were also recognized as finalists for the 2018 award: Sijumon Kunjachan, PhD, DFCI/BWH/Harvard Medical School, for his work titled “Image-Guided Drug Delivery by Radiation-Induced Tumor Vascular Modulation” (middle) and Ilke Tunali, PhD candidate, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, for his work titled “Radiomics and clinical predictors of disease progression among non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors.”

To learn more about Dr. Lu’s research, please visit: georgelu.org

To be considered for the 2019 Young Investigator of the Year Award, please submit an abstract to WMIC 2019 and apply for the award. Abstract submission will open December 1, 2018 and close April 10, 2019. Please contact wmis@wmis.org for more details.

ABOUT WORLD MOLECULAR IMAGING SOCIETY
The WMIS is dedicated to developing and promoting translational research through multimodality molecular imaging. The education and abstract-driven WMIC is the annual meeting of the WMIS and provides a unique setting for scientists and clinicians with very diverse backgrounds to interact, present, and follow cutting-edge advances in the rapidly expanding field of molecular imaging that impacts nearly every biomedical discipline. Industry exhibits at the congress included corporations who have created the latest advances in preclinical and clinical imaging approaches and equipment, providing a complete molecular imaging educational technology showcase. For more information: http://www.wmis.org

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/wmic_2018_young_investigator_of_the_year_awarded_to_caltechs_dr_george_j_lu_for_research_in_combining_mri_and_ultrasound_technologies/prweb15856477.htm.


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