Peter Smith-Jones, PhD Appointed Director of PET Radiochemistry

March 25, 2014 - Peter Michael Smith-Jones, PhD joined the faculty on January 2, 2014 to serve as Visiting Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology and Director of PET Radiochemistry. The PET radiochemistry laboratory is a core facility, providing technical assistance to researchers throughout the medical center and university. Dr. Smith-Jones's departmental affiliation is in the Department of Psychiatry.

A self-proclaimed alchemist, Dr. Smith-Jones uses a particle accelerator to transmute matter and make short lived PET isotopes. He uses these isotopes to make new or established  radioligands used in PET research. “I can help scientists obtain existing radiopharmaceuticals by guiding them through the regulatory approval process,” Dr. Smith-Jones said. “And if someone needs a new compound, we can design it from scratch.”

The core laboratory will be housed in the new Medical and Research Translation (MART) Building when it opens in 2016. It will include a cyclotron and “clean rooms”, enabling Dr. Smith-Jones to manufacture Carbon-11, a radioisotope used in PET scanning. This will make it possible for department chair Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD and other researchers to conduct PET imaging studies of the serotonin system using 11C labeled compounds here at Stony Brook.

Dr. Smith-Jones holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Basel in Switzerland and trained as a radiochemist at the University Hospital of Vienna in Austria and at Cornell University Medical Center in New York City. He spent 10 years in various professional capacities at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and for the past 3 years has been Director of Radiochemistry at the University of Colorado in Denver. His CV lists 66 peer reviewed journal articles and 6 patents.

Dr. Parsey lured him to Stony Brook he said by presenting “the grand scheme: the new MART building and the Dean of Medicine’s vision for translational research.” His principal aims are to advance science while helping to develop better drugs. “Everything so far has been extremely positive,” he said.