Peter Conti, MD, PhD, professor of radiology and director of the Molecular Imaging Center, was awarded the Benedict Cassen Prize during the 2020 annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) on July 13. 

Dr. Peter Conti. (Photo/Kevin Pacheco)

In a release, SNMMI said “the honor is awarded every two years by the Education and Research Foundation (ERF) for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in recognition of outstanding achievement and work leading to a major advance in nuclear medicine science.”

Conti, known for his “pioneering work in the diagnosis and management of cancer,” said it was an honor to be recognized by the ERF’s Cassen Committee. “It is a privilege to be considered a member of this elite group of scientists who have contributed so much to the field. I want to thank all my U.S. and international collaborators, colleagues, mentors, students, friends and family whose support and inspiration made this possible.”

At the annual meeting, Conti presented the Cassen Lectureship on “Molecular Imaging in 2020 and Beyond: Expect the Unexpected.” He talked about the potential role molecular imaging might have in diagnosing viral infection, which is relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to his academic appointments in radiology, biomedical engineering and pharmaceutical sciences, Conti also has been the director of the USC PET Imaging Science Center since its inception in 1991. He “has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers in the field of molecular imaging, many of which focused on the development of novel PET and hybrid imaging agents for diagnostic and theranostic applications in cancer and other diseases,” the release said.

The $25,000 Cassen Prize honors Benedict Cassen, inventor of the rectilinear radioisotope scanner, “the first instrument capable of making an image of radiotracer distribution in body organs of living patients,” the release said.