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Molecular Imaging Branch

Training Opportunities

The NIH offers a rich training environment. Dr. Innis strongly emphasizes training and career development for everyone in his laboratory, regardless of whether the person is here for a time-limited period (e.g., graduate student or postdoctoral fellow) or is in a permanent staff position (e.g., Staff Scientist). He frequently gives lectures to the group on ad hoc topics and also teaches two courses: writing scientific papers and pharmacokinetic modeling. In addition, the laboratory has a journal club, project meetings, and thumbnail presentations. Trainees improve their verbal presentation skills at these laboratory meetings as well as at formal NIH-wide venues and national/international meetings.

Dr. Innis has been recognized for his accomplishments in mentoring at the NIH. He was the recipient of the 2005 NIH Director’s Merit Award for establishing and directing the joint PhD program in neuroscience with the Karolinska Institutet; the 2009 NIMH Intramural Research Program Award for Mentor of the Year; and the 2010 NIMH Director’s Award for “extraordinary commitment to successful scientific writing through effective, dedicated, and inspiring mentoring of NIMH Fellows” and for “outstanding dedication, leadership, and mentorship to the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program”.

Facilities

At the NIH, trainees have access to a wide range of world-class clinical and research facilities. Our research studies use a broad range of technological resources, including:

PET Radiochemistry Facility

The NIMH PET radiochemistry facility is directed by Victor Pike, PhD. This laboratory is fully equipped for radiochemistry research and development as well as production of PET radiopharmaceuticals for imaging studies. The laboratory contains six hot-cells, each connected to two cyclotrons capable of producing both carbon-11 and fluorine-18. The hot-cells are equipped with a variety of commercial automated synthesis equipment including GE TRACERlab FX N and FX C systems, Bioscan AutoLoop, and Advion Nanotek microfluidic system, as well as several systems that have been developed in-house. The laboratory is also equipped with four fume hoods for medicinal chemistry and supporting analytical equipment, including several HPLCs, LC-MS, GC-MS, and 400 MHz NMR.

NIMH also has the use of four hot-cells and two mini-cells in the adjoining cGMP facility operated by the NIH Clinical Center. This facility is equipped with automated synthesis equipment and HPLC, and used exclusively to produce PET radiopharmaceuticals for clinical studies.

PET Imaging

The NIH PET Department has two Siemens Biograph mCT PET cameras and a Siemens High Resolution Research Tomograph. The branch receives a full range of support, from personnel to equipment, from the NIH Clinical Center. In addition, NIMH has two preclinical PET scanners: a Siemens microPET Focus 220 for nonhuman primate imaging and a Focus 120 for rodent imaging.

MR Imaging

Most MRI/fMRI studies are carried out on the 3 and 7 Tesla magnets at the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core Facility or Clinical Center Radiology Department. In addition, 9.4 and 7 Tesla small animal MR scanners are available at the NIH MRI Research Facility/Mouse Imaging Facility (NMRF/MIF), a shared intramural resource for animal imaging studies.

Opportunities

Our scientists and trainees have presented research and posters at numerous national and international conferences, including the annual conferences of the Society for Biological Psychiatry, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

On campus, the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training offers a range of fellowship and training opportunities for individuals at various stages of their education. These opportunities, which last between one and five years, provide an opportunity to further the education and professional development of Fellows and Trainees. For more information on this program, visit the NIMH Fellowship & Training Programs website. Information on specific opportunities can be found at: Training and Educational Opportunities for Physicians and Medical Students.

In addition, the MIB frequently works with graduate students enrolled in the joint PhD program in neuroscience between the NIH and the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden), which Dr. Innis co-founded in 2002. This jointly mentored PhD program offers outstanding opportunities for training and research for a select group of accomplished and goal-directed students who are expected to emerge as future leaders in translational neuropsychiatry.