The Benedict Cassen Prize

The Benedict Cassen Prize is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement and work leading to a major advance in nuclear medicine science. The prize award is $25,000 and is only offered every other year (even years).

This prestigious prize is named in honor of the late physicist Benedict Cassen, whose invention, the rectilinear scanner, first brought the ability to image patients to nuclear medicine. His widow, Mary Wylie Cassen, made a bequest to the Foundation to establish a major award. The awarding of this prize is in recognition of outstanding achievement is essential to encourage development and growth in nuclear medicine.

1994 – Hal O. Anger, B.S., D.Sc. (Hon.), for his invention of the scintillation camera.

1996 – David E. Kuhl, M.D., for his development of emission reconstruction tomography and quantitative measurements of brain physiology.

1998 – Henry N. Wagner, Jr., M.D., for his many contributions to Nuclear Medicine as a scientist, teacher and clinician.

2000 – Sally J. DeNardo, M.D., and Gerald L. DeNardo, M.D., for their fundamental contributions to present and future medical care through work in developing radiolabelled antibodies and contributions to the radioimmunotherapy of cancer.

2002 – Michael E. Phelps, PhD., for his exceptional involvement and work to translate PET science into clinical medical practice.

2004 – Michael J. Welch, PhD., for his work on rapid synthesis of positron-labeled organic chemicals which were of vital importance in the application of PET technology’s application to diagnostic medicine.

2006 – Alexander Gottschalk, M.D., for his pioneer work in the clinical applications of the Anger gamma camera and the use of Technetium radiotracers.

2008 – Mathew Thakur, PhD., for his original and major advances in the development of novel radiopharmaceuticals that have led nuclear medicine to play a major role in the management of patients with infections, vascular thromboembolism, and cancer.

2010 – Sung-Cheng (Henry) Huang, D.Sc., for his scholarship in applying biomathematics to the development & application of tracer kinetic models used as imaging assays of biological process in vivo with PET, from basic to clinical sciences.

2012 – Abass Alavi, MD, MD(Hon), PhD(Hon), DSc(Hon), for his contributions to the development of modern imaging techniques including Positron Emission Tomography, as revolutionary tools for conducting basic science research and improving patient care.

2012 – Steven M. Larson, M.D., for his research and leadership that have advanced nuclear medicine science, especially in uses of radionuclides for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

2014 – Barry A. Siegel, M.D., for his sustained contributions to clinical translation of nuclear medicine science and, in particular, his visionary leadership in developing scientific methodology for evidence-based clinical trials that resulted in widespread acceptance of imaging studies using positron emission tomography.

2016 – H. William Strauss, M.D., in recognition of his seminal studies in cardiovascular nuclear medicine. These studies have greatly advanced nuclear medicine science and have had exceptionally high clinical impact.

2018 – Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., in recognition of his visionary leadership and rigorous science in developing and translating strategies for the imaging of human diseases using novel multimodality reporter genes and imaging agents.

2020 – Peter S. Conti, MD, PhD, in recognition of his pioneering work in the development of novel radiopharmaceuticals and clinical PET applications for cancer imaging, as well as his volunteerism and service to the molecular imaging community.

2022 – Simon Cherry, PhD, in recognition of his seminal contributions to Nuclear Medicine instrumentation and Molecular Imaging generally, including his pioneering advancement of small-animal PET, PET/MRI hybrid imaging, and total-body PET.

The Benedict Cassen Postdoctoral Fellowship  

This grant was established by the Estates of Benedict Cassen and Mary Wiley Balfour Cassen to provide early-career scientists with mentoring experience and the opportunity to develop preliminary data for federal or other competitive research support. The grant will provide support for the postdoctoral fellow to carry out the research under the supervision of the junior faculty member with the assistance of a senior faculty member or principal investigator.

2014 – Marc David Normandin, PhD, Instructor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School Assistant in Physics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Radiology.

Georges El Fakhri, PhD, DABR, Director, Center for Advanced Medical Imaging Sciences (CAMIS), Co-Director, Division of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging, Professor of Radiology Harvard Medical School is Dr. Normandin’s advisor.

2015 – Kyle Lapidus, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Neuromodulation, Stony Brook University, Department of Psychiatry.

Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Director of PET Research, Stoney Brook School of Medicine, is advisor to Dr. Lapidus.

2018 – Amy M. Fowler, M.D., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Radiology, Breast Imaging Section

Jamey Weichert, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Director of the UW-Madison Contrast Agent Laboratory is Dr. Fowler’s advisor.

2021 – Pedram Heidari, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD, Associate Chair of Radiological Sciences, Center for Precision Imaging, Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, is Dr. Heidari’s advisor.

2023 – Adam J. Rosenberg, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  

Eben L. Rosenthal, MD, Barry and Amy Baker Chair in Head and Neck Research Professor and Chair, is Dr. Rosenberg’s advisor.  

NET RF/ERF Nuclear Medicine Pilot Research Grant

2017 Thomas A. Hope, MD, for “Intra-Arterial Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (IA-PRRT) using 90Y-DOTA-TOC.”

2018 Babak Behnam Azad, PhD, for “An improved approach for detection and therapeutic monitoring of neuroendocrine tumors by PET.”

2019 Tara E. Mastren, PhD, for “Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles: Development of a Combined PET and TAT Theranostic Agent for Neuroendocrine Tumors.”

2020 Susanne Kossatz, PhD, for “Uncovering the cellular mechanisms that limit clinical application of PRRT.”

2021 Prof. Dr. Apr. Frederik Cleeren for “Targeted alpha therapy of NETs using somatostin-based radiopharmaceuticals with improved tumor-to-kidney ratio, the theranostic approach.”

2022 Patricia Ribeiro Pereira, PhD, for “Improving imaging and endoradiotherapy of NETs by endocytic modulation of somatostatin receptors.”

2023 James Andrew Howard Inkster for “Efficient automated synthesis of silicon-[18F]fluoride acceptor (SiFA)-based neuroendocrine tumour imaging agents via “non-anhydrous, minimally basic” (NAMB) radio-fluorination chemistry.”




Since our founding, ERF has disbursed $9,329,175 to the nuclear medicine and molecular imaging community.  The vast majority of these funds have been given in partnership with the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. To learn more about all of our SNMMI grant recipients, please visit their awards page.