About Nicolas A. Karakatsanis

My name is Nicolas A. Karakatsanis, and I am currently Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, in New York city, NY. I was born and grew up in the historic city of Athens, Greece, where I completed my high school education at the summer of 2000. On the fall of the same year, I was admitted at the highly competitive 5-year joint Bachelor and Masters in Engineering education program of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens with a strong vision to apply computer engineering principles for the advancement of medicine. I graduated on fall of 2005 after successfully completing with honors my diploma thesis in the specialty of Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Konstantina S. Nikita. Later I was enrolled in the PhD in Biomedical Engineering graduate studies program of the same school and became member of the Biomedical Simulations and Imaging Technologies Laboratory (BIOSIM) under the supervision of Prof. Konstantina Nikita. Meanwhile, I devoted one year as a Visiting Scholar at the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging of University of California at Los Angeles, where I had the opportunity to actively contribute to front-end preclinical research projects in the area of molecular imaging and instrumentation (P.I. Arion F. Chatziioannou). I successfully completed my PhD dissertation in the field of nuclear medical imaging and Monte Carlo simulations on fall 2009. Later, I was enrolled in the Greek army for a 9-month military service, a mandatory obligation for all eligible Greek males. During my service, I was trained in IT and Internet security field in the Military Informatics Corps of the Hellenic Army forces. Then, on February 2011 I joined as a post-doctoral research fellow the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA. For the next three years, I had the opportunity under the mentorship of Dr Arman Rahmim, Associate Professor of Radiology and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, to lead the whole-body dynamic PET/CT project at the PET Image Reconstruction and Analyis (PIRA) lab. Later, on February 2011 I joined as a postdoctoral research fellow the Division of Nuclear Medicine, at the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Maryland, USA. For the next three years, I had the opportunity under the mentorship of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arman Rahmim at the Emission Tomography Image Reconstruction and Analyis (ETIRA) lab to lead the first developments of a set of novel whole-body dynamic PET/CT imaging methods, that have now been advanced to permit their extensive adoption in nuclear medicine clinic. Afterwards, in late 2013, I accepted the generous offer for a post-doctoral research associate position by Dr Habib Zaidi at the Division of Nuclear Medicine of the Geneva University Hospital to continue my on-going projects and expand the pilot clinical study into Europe as well. Thanks to the support of the division and the fruitful interactions with my colleagues, I led the development of a wide spectrum of medical imaging research projects at the PET Instrumentation and Neuroimaging laboratory (PINlab) at Geneva University Hospital, while maintaining a close collaboration with Dr Arman Rahmim lab at Johns Hopkins University. In particular, during my 2 year term in Geneva, I coordinated a range of quantitative oncological imaging projects in nuclear medicine, mainly in the area of PET tracer kinetic modeling, dynamic Time-of-Flight (TOF) acquisition clinical protocol optimization, 4D parametric reconstruction as well as motion compensation and resolution modeling techniques. Subsequently, in summer 2015 I accepted the challenge to return with family back to USA to enroll as a senior research scientist at the Cardiovascular Imaging Lab of the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute (TMII) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. There, I was granted the opportunity to lead a set of front-end translational molecular imaging research projects in the areas of cardiovascular PET/MRI and oncologic WB parametric PET/CT, together with TMII director, Prof. Zahi A. Fayad, and colleagues. Two years later, on summer of 2017 I was appointed Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in New York city. My major application field currently focuses on PET quantification imaging studies utilizing anatomical and additional functional information primarily from MRI and CT. The scope of my ongoing funded projects include early and reliable diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular and whole-body oncology diseases as well as evaluation of the physiological attributes of radiopharmaceutical tracers from dedicated brain and small animal PET parametric imaging studies. My vision is driven by the desire to continue leading front-end research projects in the field of nuclear medical imaging to enable a) the translation of the direct benefits of innovative medical imaging methods to the nuclear medicine clinic as well as b) the transfer of acquired knowledge and expertise to fellow scientists through supervision and guidance. Sincerely yours, Nicolas

Introducing our Nature paper on a novel nano-immunotherapy scheme for atherosclerosis

We are excited to share with you our Nature in Biomedical Engineering article on the multi-parametric evaluation of a novel nano-immunotherapy scheme targeting atherosclerosis disease. The proposed methodology moderates CD40–CD40 ligand signalling in monocytes and macrophages of atherosclerotic plaques by blocking the interaction between CD40 and tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6).

The accumulation of monocytes and macrophages in atherosclerosis has been associated with destabilization and rupture of plaque which can lead to acute cardiac events. Therefore, intervening in macrophage dynamics can be an efficacious therapeutic strategy in cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, our study demonstrated that a 1-week treatment regimen achieved significant anti-inflammatory effects in mice and non-human primates, due to the impaired migration capacity of monocytes.

We are very proud to have actively participated in this wonderful journey together with more than 30 researchers in 11 departments, across three countries. If you are interested in further details, please have a look at Dr Lameijer’s news article or read our original manuscript.

Thank you!

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Parametric PET imaging is now a product!

Very proud that our early work on whole-body parametric PET imaging inspired important industry vectors to translate this technology into their clinical scanner systems. We first paved the way back in 2001 at Rahmim Lab and great collaborators joined us on the way. With the support of the industry (FlowMotion MultiParametric PET by Siemens) we are now optimistic that the clinical PET community will utilize dynamic whole-body PET acquisition and direct 4D reconstruction technology to benefit from the high quantification capabilities complementing the currently established static SUV PET imaging.

Dynamic and multi-parametric whole-body PET imaging has arrived in clinic and it is readily available NOW.

Thank you!

Finally, there is a vendor product (FlowMotion Multiparametric PET by Siemens) that enables dynamic whole-body PET including parametric imaging. This is very rewarding given that our group was the earliest to propose and work on this framework, including close collaboration with Siemens. This is clearly an enabling technology, and it remains to be seen whether […]  via Rahmim Lab

Our multi-parametric PET/MR and PET/CT imaging work featured in the summer 2017 edition of the #TMIInyc newsletter

The summer 2017 edition of the newsletter of the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute (TMII) in Mount Sinai, New York, features our  latest research findings in multi-parametric PET molecular imaging utilizing state-of-the-art:

  1. 18F-NaF kinetics-driven bone tissue segmentation,
  2. dual-tracer PET/MR carotid plaque imaging and
  3. combined SUV/Patlak-4D WB PET/CT oncologic imaging

Download the newsletter in PDF format here.

TMIInewsletter_Summer2017_Page3

Page 3 of the TMII newsletter featuring our work in multi-parametric PET/MR and PET/CT

Our whole-body 4D parametric PET imaging research featured in 2016 highlights of the PMB journal

We are grateful to announce that our recent research publication in direct 4D whole-body PET parametric imaging has been featured in 2016 highlights of the Physics in Medicine and Biology (PMB) journal. Please check below the line-up of highlighted 2016 PMB articles awarded by the editorial team of the prestigious PMB journal in the field of PET imaging:

http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0031-9155/page/Highlights_of_2016

This is indeed a great honor and we are indebted to the great interest you have recently demonstrated for our on-going progress in this new exciting molecular imaging field.

Our work aims at translating the quantitative virtues of multi-parametric molecular PET imaging, as initially had been shown in neuroimaging, to clinically feasible multi-bed PET scan protocols. The transition to whole-body dynamic and parametric PET imaging is critical as it may substantially enhance the diagnostic, prognostic and theranostic prospects of image assessments of various important molecular mechanisms  of oncologic and cardiovascular diseases.

figure1_gpatlak4dpaper

Direct 4D whole-body dynamic PET parametric imaging method

Thank you all for your active support and we would like to take this opportunity to openly share once again  our continuous commitment to advance the clinical value of molecular PET imaging as a valuable biomedical imaging tool to assess progress and therapy responses at the molecular level.

Our paper on direct 4D Whole-Body PET parametric imaging in the Top 10 PMB articles for 2016!

We are grateful to announce that our featured article on direct-4D whole-body PET parametric image reconstruction has been included in the Top-10 rankings for the most popular Physics in Medicine and Biology (PMB) articles of the year!

This is indeed a honorary distinction, as it stems directly from the broad interest of nuclear medicine community in our vision for clinically adoptable dynamic and parametric PET imaging.

Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity and thank you for your continuous feedback and support in our on-going efforts to enhance the quantitative virtues of PET molecular imaging by translating dynamic and parametric 4D PET imaging to the clinic.

In case you have missed the article, you can find it via the following top-10 PMB articles list for 2016, among other exciting scientific work in related fields.

Top-10 Most Popular Physics in Medicine and Biology Articles for 2016

Article on the clinical potential of whole body dynamic 4D PET imaging

We are very excited and motivated that our recently published work in dynamic whole-body 4D PET imaging for the clinical translation of advanced quantitative PET imaging has began to take notice in scientific community, as seen in the following online news article:

A clinical take on whole-body dynamic PET

The presented developments from Dr Karakatsanis and colleagues are the fruits of the productive collaboration between the research groups of Dr Rahmim at Johns Hopkins University and Dr Zaidi at University of Geneva.

The research work is further advanced currently at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, in close collaboration with the previous two groups.