July 10, 2013
Brion Abel

SLU Students Receive Awards at International Conference

Three students presented papers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging annual meeting held in June in Vancouver, Canada.

SNMMI Award Winner
From left are, Dina Helina, Katie Yoder and Chris Kirchgesner. Submitted photo

Out of hundreds of abstracts submitted from across North America, six students from Saint Louis University were chosen to attend the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) annual meeting June 8-12 in Vancouver, Canada. Three of those students took home top awards for projects researching methods to increase safety for patients.

Students presented papers to professionals and peers in their fields related to research they had completed over the course of the year, which were judged by a panel of professionals and academics. 

  • Katie Yoder presented "Development and Validation of Simple Methods to Reduce Radiation Exposure from FDG PET.CT MPI Studies," which researched reducing exposure from PET/CT scans on the general public through contact with patients undergoing treatments. Her project received first place overall.
  • Dina Helina presented "Comparison of Radiation Dose for 18-F FDG PET/CT Imaging and the Effect of Varying Protocols on Image Interpretation," which compared PET and CT doses for imaging. Her research proved that there is no major difference in image quality between lower and higher doses and recommended creating a standard for radiation doses in hospital imaging centers. Her project received second place overall.
  • Chris Kirchgesner presented "The Variability of CT Techniques and Radiopharmaceutical Dose for SPECT/CT MPI Studies," which measured radiation exposure across multiple facilities within Cardiology and identified procedures to reduce exposure. He won best paper in the category for cardiology.

"Vancouver was an amazing experience and I am so glad I was able to go," said Helina. Yoder, Helina and Kirchgesner traveled with three other SLU students and shared costs to make sure everyone was able to attend.

The students' faculty mentors were William Hubble; Medhat Osman, M.D., Ph.D.; Crystal Botkin; Austin Turner; and Debra Hewing. Each student practiced presenting their findings in fewer than five minutes to be ready for the conference in front of faculty and friends and received feedback to be ready for the judges' panel.

This is not the first time students have attended the SNMMI annual meeting; SLU students have submitted presented more than 45 abstracts since 2006, when the department began its undergraduate research program.

Next year's SNMMI annual meeting will be June 7-11 in St. Louis.

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