April 16, 2014
Meghan Hubble

Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics Graduates First Student

Aaron Ferguson is the first student to complete the new graduate program, which was established in the fall of 2012.

Aaron Ferguson
Aaron Ferguson is the first graduate of the master's of science in molecular imaging and therapeutics program. Submitted photo

The master's of science in molecular imaging and therapeutics, a new graduate program in the Doisy College of Health Sciences, has graduated its first student since its implementation in the fall of 2012.

Aaron Ferguson successfully completed the didactic and clinical portion of the program with a concentration in magnetic resonance imaging this past October. Ferguson moved from Kansas City with his wife and two children to complete his studies, and his degree was conferred in December.

"The master's of science in molecular imaging and therapeutics program at Saint Louis University opens a new avenue of professional development for technologists and addresses the evolving need for properly trained hybrid imaging technologists in the field of molecular imaging," Ferguson said. "As the first graduate of this program, I would like to find a career where I can have an impact on the future of molecular imaging and therapy."

Among his other accomplishments, Ferguson passed the MRI registry exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist — scoring above the national average.

The program is the first of its kind to offer a master's of science in the radiological sciences that includes clinical trials and hands-on research experience with a primary investigator.

While completing his degree, Ferguson completed a 12-week rotation in the Center for Clinical Imaging Research at Washington University. He collaborated with Richard Laforest, Ph.D., and Jonathon McConathy, M.D., Ph.D., to investigate and correct for the attenuation caused by MR headphones during simultaneous positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance (PET/MR) studies. The manuscript from their research project was accepted by the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology and will be published in June.

Post-graduation, Ferguson accepted a position at the local St. Louis research firm, Biomedical Systems. Faculty from the Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapeutics said they were very proud of Ferguson, his completion of this innovative new program, success in the registry exam and recent employment.

The master's of science in molecular imaging and therapeutics focuses on individuals with a background in imaging and therapeutic sciences who want to pursue a new area of study for educational and research purposes. Upon completion, graduates will not only have research credentials, but will leave specializing in two disciplines of imaging and therapeutic sciences making them highly marketable and valuable to future employers.

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