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Educational Opportunities

Undergraduate Research Opportunities in PET Imaging

  • Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in PET research projects during the academic year and during the summer.
  • Students will learn to use computer software tools for image creation, image processing, and data analysis.
  • PET involves a very wide range of scientific applications including mathematics, computer science, statistics, physics, chemistry, pharmacology and neuroscience. Background in some of these areas is helpful.
  • For most of these applications, some experience with computer programming, e.g., with high-level languages such as Matlab and IDL is very helpful.
  • Contact Richard E. Carson at for further information.

Graduate Research Opportunities in PET Imaging

  • First year graduate students in Biomedical Engineering can perform Special Investigations, i.e., 1-semester rotations, in PET Imaging.
  • Dissertation work in PET imaging can be performed through arrangement with Richard E. Carson, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Post-graduate Research Opportunities in PET Imaging

  • There are periodic openings for post-doctoral associates for 2-year fellowships for specific research projects in PET physics and tracer kinetic modeling.
  • Contact Richard E. Carson at for further information.

Research Topics in PET Imaging

  • Improving PET measurements: Physics of PET imaging and improved corrections for effects such as scatter and resolution.
  • Better images: Reconstruction algorithm developments to improve image quality.
  • Faster images: Computer science innovations for more rapid image reconstruction using computer clusters.
  • New PET physiology: Analysis of PET images from new radiopharmaceuticals to assess new physiological functions, such as new neuroreceptors.
  • Improved kinetics: Development of new data analysis methods to produce reliable and accurate measurements of physiological parameters.
  • Less invasive methods: Use PET imaging data to measure the blood input function and avoid invasive arterial sampling.
  • Image processing: Use of image processing tools such as principle components analysis and wavelets to improve PET parametric images.
  • Human high resolution imaging: Analysis of human images to assess PET uptake in small brain nuclei or to correct for cerebral atrophy.
  • Disease-related questions: Use PET data to assess regional differences in PET physiology in disease or following treatment.