Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics Residency Program

Residency Overview

MIT res fel 13-14The Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics residency program at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Residents in this program are actively involved in daily triage of patients to ensure that the appropriate study is performed, and that the best scintigraphic data obtainable is collected.  The residents in the program play a major role in the interpretation of the study's data and formulation of the Nuclear Medicine report.  The residents are involved in all teaching sessions, play a major role in diagnostic consultation, and first-and-foremost, are always conscious of the quality of patient care.  The general Nuclear Medicine program includes all areas of scintigraphic imaging, radionuclide therapy, use of radionuclides in the ascertainment of laboratory physiologic values, and proper obtainment of in vivo tracer kinetic studies.  Specifics regarding length of residency training and other requirements can be found below.

The research section contains two laboratories (one involved with new isotope development for evaluation of cancer and gene therapy, and a second using high field MRI to evaluate fMRI and MRSI protocols).  There are four Ph.D. in the division of Nuclear Medicine who head these laboratories, and can assist you with developing and conduction experiments in these areas.

Instruction is provided through formal lectures, regularly scheduled conferences, and supervised clinical experience.  Introductory and review materials are presented in structured training sessions.  Structured didactic and laboratory physics instruction is provided by the physics department.  Conference and journal club topics are selected to complement the curriculum.

The Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics residents rotate through the Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics at University Hospital, the Nuclear Medicine Service of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Birmingham (V.A.), and the Children's Hospital.  These units function in close cooperation with one another.  The staff of the Division of Nuclear Medicine includes eight physicians (two with M.D./Ph.D. degrees), two physicists, two research assistants, nine technologists, and four clerical personnel.  The VA Medical Center has four physicians and seven technologists.  Children's' Medical Center has ten radiologists and two technologists.

Research laboratories are available in the University and V.A. Hospital complexes.  Our present research interests involve projects associated with:

  • Radiopharmaceutical development
  • Molecular imaging
  • Brain SPECT and PET
  • Renal and cardiac studies (including renal and heart transplantations)
  • Oncologic PET applications

Efforts are made to support specific research interests of the residents.  Two research assistants and two programmers are available for assisting in the analysis of specific research projects using state-of-the-art in house quantitative and co-registration software.  A research associate is also available to assist in project data acquisition and storage as well as image analysis.

The available Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics equipment at University Hospital includes ten Anger Gamma cameras (including mobile, SPECT, and large field-of-view), dynamic 133Xenon absolute quantitative blood flow measures, and dual x-ray absorptiometry.  There are cameras for use in the animal imaging laboratory for evaluation of new tracers synthesized in the Molecular Image Development Laboratory.  All equipment is interfaced to an Ethernet network.  The VA Medical Center has five Anger Gamma cameras, three of which have SPECT/CT capability.  A state of the art GE PET/CT camera (with 64 slice CT) has recently been installed, and another SPECT/CT camera will soon be installed as well.

Routinely performed procedures include not only general nuclear medicine imaging and cardiac studies, but also a variety of in vivo distribution studies (thyroid uptake, hematokinetics, Schilling tests, glomerular filtration rate, and renal plasma flow).

Cardiac studies are an integral part of the clinical Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics activities at the University Hospital, the V.A. Hospital, and the Kirklin Clinic. Two Gamma scintillation cameras serve the University Hospital, two serve the Kirklin Clinic, and four serve the V.A. Hospital.  Laboratories equipped with treadmills and bicycle ergometers are maintained at the University Hospital, the V.A. Hospital, and the Kirklin Clinic.  The routine cardiac studies include exercise stress/rest myocardial perfusion imaging with 99mTc cardiac perfusion agents, pharmacologic stress/rest myocardial perfusion imaging with 99mTc cardiac perfusion agents, cardiac viability studies with 201Thallium, exercise/rest studies of ventricular performance, and regional wall motion studies utilizing first-pass and ECG-gated techniques.  An average of 15 to 20 cardiovascular and Nuclear Medicine studies are performed per day, assuring that more than an adequate number of studies are available for resident training.  Besides the daily reading sessions, there is a bi-weekly cardiologist-organized cardiac imaging conference.

The Section of Neuro-Nuclear Medicine is involved in routine brain SPECT imaging and several research projects.  Routine brain blood flow or 18F- Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) metabolism imaging (as appropriate) is performed for the evaluation of dementia, of hemodynamic (e.g. carotid or MCA stenosis) vascular constraint, of residual viable brain tumor, of interictal and ictal epilepsy studies, and stroke.  These research areas are supported by several extramural grant funding sources. There is abundant opportunity for resident participation in any of these areas.

University Hospital performs several studies and therapies not performed (or rarely performed) elsewhere in the State of Alabama, including ProstaScint imaging for prostate cancer, OctreoScan imaging for somatostatin receptor positive malignancies, and MIBG imaging for pheochomocytomas or neuroblastomas.  In addition, approximately 150 therapy procedures are performed annually at University Hospital and VA Medical Center. These include 131I therapies for hyperthyroidism and thyroid carcinoma, palliative 89Sr and 153Sm therapy for painful osseous metastatic disease, 90Y Zevalin and 131I Bexxar therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and 32P therapy for polycythemia vera. The residents also have the opportunity to observe imaging and therapy with labeled monoclonal antibodies under multiple research protocols performed at the UAB Tumor Institute.

The UAB Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics is equipped with a state-of-the-art GE Discovery LS PET-CT system, which will enable the resident to obtain experience with positron emission tomography in the clinical areas of cardiac, tumor, and brain.  Another PET/CT system has been approved for the coming budget year, and as mentioned the VA Medical Center has recently added a PET/CT system as well.  The primary PET radiopharmaceutical routinely used is 18F-FDG for the evaluation of regional glucose metabolism.  Long term UAB plans include acquisition of a scintimammography camera, a SPECT/CT camera, and an on-site cyclotron as part of a research laboratory. Read More>>>