Sheehan Receives World Molecular Imaging Society Young Investigator Award

Molly Sheehan, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Bioengineering (BE), is the recipient of the 2016 World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS) Young Investigator Award. A member of the laboratory of Brian Chow, assistant professor in BE, Sheehan won for her work in mammalian cell imaging titled, “De Novo Design and Functional Mammalian Expression of a Far-Red Fluorescent Protein.”

Far-red fluorescent proteins have important applications in tracking expression levels and localization of proteins in cells found in deep tissue, as well as in constructing molecular sensors. Sheehan's work has possible future applications in monitoring expression levels in gene therapy and in mapping brain activity and connectivity.

The Young Investigator Award, which in previous years has recognized studies of imaging in tuberculosis, brain tumors, and Alzheimer's disease, is awarded to a single researcher each year. Of the 1,074 study abstracts submitted for consideration in 2016, the panel selected three finalists and Sheehan was selected over her co-finalists from the University of Oxford and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The award was presented in September at the annual World Molecular Imaging Congress in New York.

Established in 2011 by integrating the Academy of Molecular Imaging and the Society for Molecular Imaging, the WMIS is an international scientific educational organization dedicated to the understanding of biology and medicine through multimodal in vivo imaging of cellular and molecular events involved in normal and pathologic processes and utilization of quantitative molecular imaging in patient care.

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