Leading preclinical brain imaging, with a main focus on PET imaging, and supporting brain imaging projects from collaborators.
Over the years, I have developed a strong interest for neuropathological conditions and their mechanisms, and how we could manipulate these molecular mechanisms to develop therapies. I rapidly realised that to understand acute neuropathological conditions such as stroke or chronic brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease we must have the ability to study in vivo the mechanisms of such conditions, hence my interest in animal models and in vivo imaging. These neuropathologies are complex and multifactorial, but my interest has focused on inflammation/neuroinflammation due to infection and other comorbidities, as over the last 2 decades they have emerged as major players in brain damage/neuronal loss.
To answer the numerous scientific questions involved in these processes, I have acquired a strong experience in several domains such as pharmacology of various neurotransmission systems (e.g. opioidergic, cholinergic, benzodiazepine), neuroscience, and neuroinflammation and neuropathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke. Over the years, I have become an expert in animal models of stroke and AD (transgenic mice and rats) and most importantly their respective strength and weaknesses (i.e. high reproducibility that translate poorly to clinical application, lack of comorbidities).
I had the opportunity to approach PET imaging during my PhD and I keenly grabbed the opportunity to return to PET imaging during my post-doc in Orsay before bringing that expertise back to Manchester. This technique obviously requires theoretical and practical expertise of the biology it is applied to, but also knowledge in pharmacology, physiology and neuroanatomy, and basic knowledge in radiochemistry to liaise with the radiochemists efficiently. Computing and programming are almost compulsory in this field to enable efficient image analysis, data management and processing which fit quite well with my taste for programming.
Over the years, I have validated several neuroinflammation tracers ([11C]DPA-713, [11C]CLINME, [18F]DPA-714 and [18F]GE-180) that are used in approximately 20 labs worldwide and have generated 170 publications, 55 of them being clinical investigations. My expertise in the field is recognised internationally through my publications, presentations at international conferences with over 50 abstracts accepted as posters or oral presentations and my recent election as president of the European Society for Molecular Imaging.