About Our Research

The van Dam Lab aims to advance research on human disease by developing microfluidic technologies and imaging tools that are greatly needed by the field.

Automated Synthesis of PET Imaging Tracers

Positron emission tomography, also known as a PET scan, is an important and very sensitive method used to locate and diagnose tumors and monitor the progress of chemotherapy, plus many other uses in medicine and research: to diagnose cardiovascular disorders, track infectious disease processes, study animal models of human disease, develop new drugs…

PET works by administering a radioactive tracer substance to a patient. The tracer can be followed by detecting its radioactive decay, which reveals detailed information about a variety of biochemical parameters in the body. The trouble is, the use of PET suffers from a severe bottleneck: the tracers are expensive and complex to produce and, due to radioactive constraints, must be made just before they are used.

This is where the van Dam Lab comes in. The team’s research aims to upturn this situation by creating the technology that will make it possible to produce PET tracers in small quantities, in an affordable way, right at the bench. 

More Research Projects

For more about the van Dam Lab's research, see the group's website: http://www.vandamlab.org/research

  • Novel Radiochemical Synthesis Approaches
  • High-Throughput Systems Biology
  • Microfluidic Technology Developments

Workflow of positron emission tomography

Image via the van Dam Lab: https://vandamlab-ucla.mysciencework.com/page/research-7