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Research images from the Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section, a multidisciplinary research and education group in the Department of Radiology.


The Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section is a multidisciplinary research and education group in the Department of Radiology.

The focus of the group is the development of new radiopharmaceuticals that provide diagnostic information on various organs in normal and disease states. Current research interests include developing imaging agents for CNS receptors (dopamine, serotonin neurotransmitter systems), Aß plaque-specific agents for imaging Alzheimer's disease, and sigma-2 specific agents targeting breast tumor imaging.  In the last few years imaging of changes in tumor metabolism via glutaminolysis is a major effort. Several C-11 and F-18 glutamine-based PET imaging agents targeting FDG/PET negative tumors have been prepared and were tested in IND studies. Major research activity comprises a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines: drug design, organic synthesis, radiochemistry, receptor pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, PET and SPECT imaging. 


Faculty and Staff

Hank Kung, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Radiology and Director, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section

Hank Kung, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Radiology
Primary Investigator, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section 

Joshua Zha, PhD

Senior Research Assistant

Hao Xiao


Molly Yao


Rayna Zhao


Recent Publications

1. Dunphy MPS, Harding JJ, Venneti S, Zhang H, Burnazi EM, Bromberg J, Omuro AM1, Hsieh JJ, Mellinghoff IK, Staton K, Pressl C, Beattie BJ, Zanzonico PB, Gerecitano JF, Kelsen DP, Weber W, Lyashchenko SK, Kung HF, Lewis JS. In Vivo PET Assay of Tumor Glutamine Flux and Metabolism: In-Human Trial of 18F- (2S,4R)-4-Fluoroglutamine. Radiology. 2018 May; 287(2):667-675. 

2.Zha Z, Ploessl K, Lieberman BP, Wang L, Kung HF. Alanine and glycine conjugates of (2S,4R)-4-[18F]fluoroglutamine for tumor imaging. Nucl Med Biol. 2018 May; 60:19-28.

3.Jin Song, Zehui Wu, Beau Wangtrakuldee, Seok Rye Choi, Zhihao Zha, Karl Ploessl, Robert H Mach, Hank Kung. 4-(((4- Iodophenyl)methyl)-4H-1,2,4-triazol-4-ylamino)-benzonitrile: A Potential Imaging Agent for Aromatase. J. Med. Chem. 2016, 59 (20), pp 9370–9380.

Contact Us

Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section/Kung Lab
Department of Radiology
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Market Street, Room 305
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: 215-662-3989
Fax:. 215-349-5035

Learn more about the Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Section

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