MIAMI BEACH, FLA. — Abass Alavi, MD, a professor of Radiology and director of research education in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was honored with the Benedict Cassen Prize during the Society of Nuclear Medicine's (SNM) 2012 Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Fla. This honor is given every two years by the Education and Research Foundation for SNM to living scientists or physician/scientists whose work has led to a major advance in basic or clinical nuclear medicine science.

Alavi received the award for his contributions in the development of modern imaging techniques, including positron emission tomography, which the society's leaders called "revolutionary tools for conducting basic science research and improving patient care."

Trained in internal medicine, hematology and nuclear medicine, Alavi has conducted pioneering research in modern imaging techniques including PET, single-photon emission-computed tomography (SPECT), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

"I am very honored to be recognized by such a prestigious prize," Alavi said. "I would like to share this great honor with my mentors, students and collaborators, without whom I could not have achieved this distinction. Ever since I entered medical school, I have searched for a specialty that would combine hard core sciences with the practice of medicine, and I found this combination best represented in the field of molecular imaging."

Alavi earned his medical degree from the University of Tehran School of Medicine in 1964. He then traveled to the United States and completed residencies at the Albert Einstein Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Hospital, both in Philadelphia, as well as at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He completed fellowships in hematology and in nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

During his career at the Penn Medicine, Alavi has been a prolific researcher, with his research activities supported primarily by the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 900 scientific papers, more than 150 book chapters, editorials and reviews and 34 books, and he has served in editorial positions for many journals and currently is the consulting editor for PET Clinics and editor in chief of Current Molecular Imaging and Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology. Alavi has also mentored more than 140 trainees in nuclear medicine, some of whom are leaders in the field internationally.

Alavi has received numerous awards and designations recognizing his outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear medicine, including the SNM Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award and the Berson-Yalow Award, the Fred Joliot Visiting Professorship at Orsay, France, and the Vic Haughton Honorary Lecture from the American Society of Functional Neuroradiology. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Bologna, Italy, and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

To read the full news release, visit the Society for Nuclear Medicine's web site.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

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