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Federica Pisaneschi

Federica Pisaneschi

Regular Member

Assistant Professor

[email protected]

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Center for Translational Cancer Research - Institute of Molecular Medicine

Radiopharmaceuticals (RPs) are drugs that leverage radiation to exert their diagnostic or therapeutic
effect. The type of radioisotope and its emitted radiation dictates whether an RP is a diagnostic agent
for nuclear molecular imaging (Single-Photon Emission Computerized Tomography - SPECT or Positron
Emission Tomography -PET), or a targeted radiotherapeutic agent. Molecules that display both features
are called Theranostics. The most recent FDA approved theranostic is the PSMA ligand for the detection
and treatment of prostate cancer. Theranostics is a quickly developing area in academia and in the
private sector, and deep radiopharmaceutical development skills are required in order to bring the next
generation of drugs from bench to bedside. Radiochemistry and radiopharmaceuticals development are
often skill sets that are acquired in graduate school.
My laboratory designs, develops, validates and translates novel radiopharmaceuticals. My research also
focuses on the mechanistic-based use of less known imaging agents for novel biological application, and
on more basic radiochemistry discovery, aimed to implement new radiolabeling methodologies for
broad applicability.

Students in my research team will learn how a radiopharmaceutical is designed, synthesized, developed
and produced, and how it can be validated preclinically in cellular cultures and animal models. If the
radiopharmaceutical is a therapeutic agent, students will learn how to validate efficacy. If the
radiopharmaceutical is an imaging agent for PET, then they will be trained in the use of the PET scanner
and acquiring and analyzing PET data. Current studies in my laboratory focus on PET imaging of
neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, multimodal imaging of prostate cancer, including PET and
MRI, and development of novel RPs for prostate cancer.

Projects can be tailored to meet the interests of the prospective student and be more biology focused
(validation of novel RPs or use of known RPs in novel contexts), imaging focused (PET imaging of
neuroinflammation/degeneration or cancer), or chemistry focused (new radiolabeling methods).


Education & Training

PhD - University of Florence - 2003