PhD student Zannoni wins first place in Young Investigation award


Phillip Kisubika

PhD student Zannoni wins first place in Young Investigation award

Elena Maria Zannoni, a PhD student in Prof. Ling-Jian Meng’s research group in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, was awarded the first place in the Physics, Instrumentation and Data Sciences Council Young Investigation Award at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting 

The paper was titled "Design study of a high-resolution and ultrahigh-sensitivity brain SPECT system for imaging medically intractable epilepsy." The specific aim of the research effort is to develop an ultrahigh-performance brain-dedicated SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) system, the HelmetSPECT system, based on advanced semiconductor gamma-ray imaging sensors and a novel artificial compound-eye gamma camera. The system offers a dramatically improved performance for clinical imaging of patients with medically intractable epilepsy. The paper also highlighted that the HelmetSPECT system could potentially transform the practice of clinical SPECT imaging for diagnosis and intervention of various brain disorders.   

The SNMMI Annual Meeting is the world’s largest professional conference in the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. It is recognized as a premier educational, scientific, research and networking event, where the latest research and development in the field are showcased.

Zannoni recently defended her PhD in Bioengineering and she will join NPRE as a Postdoctoral Research Associate this fall.  Elena has demonstrated an exceptional track record of success since the beginning of her doctoral studies, including winning first place in the IEEE NPSS Christopher J. Thompson Best Student Paper Award competition at the 2017 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference (NSS-MIC) and the third place in the same competition at the same conference in 2018.

“I am very glad to learn this prestigious award is given to Dr. Zannoni," Meng said. "This award not only brings a well-deserved recognition to Elena, but also highlights the tremendous potential of our proposed HelmetSPECT techniques for future clinical brain imaging.”