Programme Elements

Theranostic Horizons will kick off with four introductory lectures by internationally renowned scientists (marked below) which will provide the basis and set the tone for the coming week. These lectures will be followed by an exciting, well-balanced mix of invited top-notch speakers presenting their original research. Additional talks (up to 20) and poster presentations selected from your abstract submissions, plus group discussions, and excursions to the magic environment of West Iceland will round off this unique experience.

Check basic programme layout here.

Invited Speakers

in alphabetical order

Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen, Singapore

Nanotheranostics (INTROductory LECTURE)

Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Idaho. After two postdocs at Syracuse and Washington University in St. Louis, he started his Assistant Professorship and then moved to Stanford. Shawn was promoted to Associate Professor. He then moved to NIH in 2009 and became a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. He is currently Nasrat Muzayyin Chair Professor in Medicine and Technology at the National University of Singapore and the Director of the Nanomedicine Translational Research Program, and Research Director of the Clinical Imaging Research Centre of the NUS School of Medicine. Shawn has published over 900 peer-reviewed papers (H-index: 166, total citations > 100,000 based on google scholar as of March 22, 2022) and numerous books and book chapters. He is the founding editor of journal “Theranostics” (2020 IF = 11.556).

Angela Casini, Munich

Supramolecular metal-based molecules for biomedical applications: a new way forward in imaging and therapy

Angela Casini is Chair of Medicinal and Bioinorganic Chemistry and Liesel Beckmann Distinguished professor at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) since 2019. Since 2021, she is acting manager (kommissarischen Leiterin) of the Chair of Pharmaceutical Radiochemistry, and is core member of the Munich Institute of Data Science (MDSI). She completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Florence (Italy) in 2004, and afterwards moved to the EPFL (Switzerland) as principal investigator funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Between 2011-2015 she has been assistant professor at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), and between 2015-2019, she was also Chair of Medicinal and Bioinorganic chemistry at the School of Chemistry of Cardiff University (UK), before taking up her current position at TUM. The study of the role of metal ions in biological systems and of the mechanisms of action of organometallic anticancer agents are active research topics in her group. Furthermore, novel applications for metal-based compounds and supramolecular coordination complexes are explored in various domains of chemical biology, drug delivery and medicine. In these fields, she has received several awards and authored more than 250 publications (H-index 70).

Cathy Cutler, New York

Radionuclide Therapy – Emerging Therapeutic Radioisotopes (INTROductory LECTURE)

Cathy S. Cutler is Director of the Medical Isotope Research Production and Development group at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Cathy earned the Bachelor of Sciences in Biochemistry in and a Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She then joined the Radiation Sciences group at Washington University School of Medicine. she then moved to the University of Missouri Research Reactor Centers Radiopharmaceuticals Group. Additionally, she directs the Target Processing Labs (TPL). Her research focuses on developing production and separation methods for high specific activity radioisotopes, creating a suite of diagnostic and therapeutic agents tailored for individual needs, which has been funded by the DOE, NIH, NSF and public foundations. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the development and evaluation of radiopharmaceuticals, utilizing bioinorganic and radioanalytical chemistry to develop and evaluate radiopharmaceuticals for both diagnosis and therapy. 

Paula Foster, London (Canada)


As the leader of the Cellular and Molecular Imaging programme at Robarts Research Institute at Western University, Paula is developing imaging and cell labelling technology that uses ultra-high resolution MRI to detect cells labeled with magnetic nanoparticles. This advanced MRI technology has enormous potential, with limitless applications in a number of diseases and disorders. The Foster lab is currently focused on the use of these techniques to track stem cells used for tissue repair and regeneration and to monitor cancer cell metastasis and immune cells used as cancer treatments.

Assaf Gilad, Michigan

Synthetic biology constructs for imaging and therapy (INTROductory LECTURE)

Assaf Gilad is a Professor of Chemical Engineering & Material Sciences and Radiology at Michigan State University. The overarching theme of his research program is to utilize synthetic biology  to  develop new biomedical imaging technologies. Specifically, he works to develop novel genetically encoded and nanoparticles biosensors for both brain imaging and neuromodulation. He received a B.A. from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He spent three years conducting postdoctoral research in the Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University. In 2007 he joined the Radiology department at the Johns Hopkins University as a faculty member and moved to the Michigan State University in 2017.

Shwetal Mehta, Phoenix

Sonodynamic Therapy – A New Treatment Modality for Glioblastoma

As the Deputy Director and COO of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute, Shwetal has helped develop an array of early-phase pharmacodynamic- and pharmacokinetic-driven studies for patients with malignant brain tumors. Her multi-disciplinary background in molecular biology, developmental neurobiology, and neurooncology has played a critical role in the planning and development of Phase 0 clinical trials at the Ivy Center.

She earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and continued her postdoctoral training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. In 2013, she joined the Barrow Neurological Institute as a faculty member to start her independent research laboratory focused on evaluating overlapping mechanisms during normal brain development and brain malignancies with the overarching goal of identifying cancer-specific drug targets. In 2018, she was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center.

Neil Vasdev, Toronto

PET Imaging in Drug Discovery: From Academia to Industry

Neil Vasdev is the Director of the Brain Health Imaging Centre at CAMH. He is also the Director of the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry. He is the endowed Azrieli Chair in Brain and Behaviour, and Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry and Nuclear Medicine. In addition, he is a full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Neil received his PhD in chemistry from McMaster University, and continued training with a postdoctoral fellowship in Berkeley, California. He began his independent research program and faculty career at CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and the University of Toronto. He was the Director of Radiochemistry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, prior to returning to CAMH. His research focuses on developing and translating new PET imaging agents to use in various brain-based illnesses. Several of the radiotracers developed by his laboratory are in preclinical use worldwide, and many of these compounds have been used for first-in-human neuroimaging studies. Neil has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, and he has received numerous scholarly awards throughout his career.

Wolfgang Weber, Munich

Radionuclide Therapy – Biological Targets (INTROductory LECTURE)

Wolfgang Weber is Director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at “Klinikum rechts der Isar” since 2018. He is specialized in the field of molecular imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy. His research focus is the combination imaging and therapy of cancer. Wolfgang obtained his doctorate at the Technical University Munich. He then worked as an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2007, he became Chair of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Freiburg. From 2013-2017 he was Chief of the Molecular Imaging and Therapy service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Radiology at Weill-Cornell Medical College, New York.

Invited Speakers

  • Angela Casini – Munich
  • Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen – Singapore
  • Cathy Cutler – New York
  • Paula Foster – London Ontario
  • Assaf A. Gilad – Michigan
  • Shwetal Mehta – Phoenix
  • Neil Vasdev – Toronto
  • Wolfgang Weber – Munich