PET MRI Occupancy Studies: Basic Principles and Applications in Neuroimaging

This webinar took place

The development of new PET tracers that target specific brain receptors has increased the popularity of receptor occupancy studies for drug development and for the study of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Webinar Overview

Critical questions, such as whether the drug has crossed the blood brain barrier, engaged with its target receptor, and whether the dose administered achieves sufficient receptor binding for a desired therapeutic effect, can be answered by applying fully quantitative data analysis approaches, such as kinetic modelling. Furthermore, by combining PET and MRI, additional anatomical and functional information can be obtained, beyond what is possible with PET/CT.

During this webinar, PET experts Dr. Michael Placzek, and Dr. Joseph Mandeville will provide attendees with an outline of their current projects, describing the core principles of preclinical neuroimaging and discussing the benefits, challenges and exciting potential applications of receptor occupancy studies using simultaneous PET/MR.

To round off the webinar, Geoff Warnock from PMOD will present PMOD's tools for streamlined PET image processing, analysis and automated methods that you can use to accelerate your research.

Key Topics

  • An overview of the use of PET/MR in preclinical neuroimaging studies
  • Common challenges in PET occupancy studies
  • PET imaging applications in drug discovery
  • Designing studies to maximize sensitivity
  • Translational study approaches linking large and small animal studies
  • An introduction to the concept of challenge design
  • Approaches to maximizing throughput and efficiency

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will be of interest to researchers, postgraduate students, and principal investigators working in academia. Additionally, this webinar will be of interest to researchers working in the pharmaceutical sector, particularly in drug development. Researchers working with GPCRs – especially those working in small animal or drug discovery research – will also be interested in PET imaging's potential to complement their existing research programs.


Dr. Michael Placzek, PhD

Assistant Professor in Radiology
Harvard Medical School and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

Dr. Michael Placzek, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. Michael is the Director of Pharmacology at Martinos Center Chemical Neuroscience Program where he focuses on early-phase translational neuroimaging - from chemical discovery to preclinical neuroimaging. Michael has active projects in opioid pharmacology and neural signaling with MR-PET - including kappa opioid receptor drug occupancy studies in rodents. Michael also directs discovery projects with a focus on developing CNS PET radiotracers that target the neuroimmune system as it relates to neurodegenerative disease.


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Joseph B. Mandeville, PhD

Biomedical Researcher
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

Dr. Mandeville received a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Illinois in 1993 and has since worked at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital. His interest is the development, refinement, and characterization of neuroimaging methods. His early worked focused on functional MRI, particularly using exogenous contrast agents. His recent interests include simultaneous PET/fMRI applications that seek to provide an enhanced picture of neural function by correlating induced hemodynamic responses with neuroreceptor occupancy.

Geoff Warnock

Senior Application Scientist, PMOD

Geoff Warnock is a Senior Application Scientist at PMOD Technologies, part of Bruker since July 2019. PMOD provides solutions for all stages of quantitative data processing, and specializes in PET kinetic modeling. Geoff has focused on quantitative PET for more than 10 years, and provides customized training courses to PMOD’s customers around the world.