The research interests of Timothy R. DeGrado, Ph.D., are in uses of molecular imaging for research and clinical diagnostics.
Dr. DeGrado has specific interests in molecular imaging development for positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT), optical imaging and magnetic resonance imaging, including radioisotope production, radiochemistry and radiopharmacology. Research has focused on receptor ligands and metabolizable small molecule radiotracers for cancer, neuronal and cardiovascular imaging.
- Radioisotope production. Development of cyclotron targetry to produce radiometals for radiolabeling of radiopharmaceuticals.
- Radiochemistry and automation. Development of radiochemistry instrumentation and methods to support novel development of radiopharmaceuticals.
- Radiometals in Alzheimer's disease. Development of PET radiometal approaches to studying the changes in metal disposition with Alzheimer's disease and correlation of these changes with known interactions with beta-amyloid plaque depositions.
- Fatty acid metabolism in heart and metabolic disorders. Development and use of fluorine-18-labeled fatty acid analogs to study fatty acid oxidation in cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.
- Imaging of brain biochemistry in psychiatric disorders. Use of metabolic imaging of neurochemical systems to understand disease pathology and predict and monitor treatment response.
- Imaging and theranostics in glioblastomas. Pairing biomarkers of tumor aggressiveness with relevant treatment paradigms to improve treatment planning and monitoring of tumor response.
Significance to patient care
Molecular imaging provides a noninvasive method to monitor the biochemistry in human diseases at the cellular level. Patient care is improved by having a clearer understanding of the biochemical status of the disease within each patient such that the best treatment options can be decided for an individual patient rather than making treatment decision based on group averages.
Novel molecular imaging targets will help focus the interest to a specific aspect of the disease that is predictive of patient outcome and sensitive to therapy response to provide early information on treatment effect.