Nuclear Medicine

Yuan-Chuan Tai, Ph.D.

Current Position:
Associate Professor

Contact Information:
CSRB Room 4402C
Tel: 314.362.8429
Fax: 314.362.9940

Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Washington University
Campus Box 8225
510 S. Kingshighway Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Ph.D., Biomedical Physics, UCLA, Los Angeles, California - 1998
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Texas-Arlington - 1992
B.S., Physics, National Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan - 1988

Yuan-Chuan Tai is the Director (Interim) of Radiological Chemistry and Imaging Laboratory, specializing in Positron Emission Tomography, imaging physics and instrumentation, Multi-Modality Molecular Imaging technologies, and Clinical Nuclear Medicine.

Research Interests:

Positron emission tomography (PET) provides three-dimensional tomographic images of the distribution of positron emitting radiotracers within an object. Its ability to provide quantitative measurements of trace amount of radiolabeled compounds in vivo makes PET an ideal candidate for molecular imaging. The clinical values of PET in the diagnosis of neurological disorders and cardiac diseases, as well as tumor detection and cancer staging have been well recognized. With dedicated high resolution animal PET scanners and specially designed biomoleculars, small laboratory animals can be studied to reveal pharmacokinetics of new drugs, human disease models and effectiveness of treatments, and gene expressions.

Dr. Tai's research focuses on the development of novel molecular imaging techniques for animal, human, and plant imaging applications. He is the inventor of virtual-pinhole (VP) PET insert technology that provides zoom-in imaging capability for PET.  Similar to a surface coil in MRI that provides improved resolution and/or sensitivity, a VP-PET insert device can be integrated into an existing PET scanner to significantly improve its image resolution and system sensitivity. For animal PET applications, this will enable sub-millimeter PET imaging of transgenic mice. For clinical applications, this will allow physicians to zoom-in and obtain higher resolution PET images of head and neck, brain, breast, or other organs of interest. Additionally, Dr. Tai is also applying the molecular imaging technology to the development of new biofuel and food crops that can tolerate the stringent environment caused by global climate changes.

Project Goals:

  • aid the researchers to better understand the human disease models
  • accelerate the development of new pharmaceuticals and treatment for diseases
  • provide a high-resolution in vivo imaging tool applicable to human, animals and plant imaging research
  • improve diagnosis and patient management.

1. Yin Y, Chen X, Li C, Wu H, Komarov S, Guo Q, Krawczynski H, Meng L-J, and Tai Y-C, Evaluation of PET Imaging Resolution using 350μm Pixelated CZT as VP-PET Insert Detector, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 61:1-8, 2014
2. Y Yin, X Chen, H Wu, S Komarov, A Garson III, Q Li, Q Guo, H Krawczynski, L-J Meng, and Y-C Tai, 3D Spatial Resolution of 350μm Pitch Pixelated CdZnTe Detectors for Imaging Applications, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 60-1:9-15, 2013
3. Solomon M, Nothdruft RE, Akers W, Edwards WB, Liang K, Xu B, Suddlow GP, Deghani H, Tai Y-C, Eggebrecht AT, Achilefu, S, Culver JP, Multimodal Fluorescence-Mediated Tomography and SPECT/CT for Small-Animal Imaging, J Nucl Med 54(4):639-46, 2013
4. Mathews AJ, Komarov S, Wu H, O’Sullivan JA, Tai Y-C, Improving PET imaging for breast cancer using virtual pinhole PET half-ring insert, Phys. Med. Biol. 58:6407-27, 2013
5. Keesing DB, Mathews AJ, Komarov S, Wu H, Song TY, O’Sullivan JA, Tai Y-C, Image reconstruction and system modeling techniques for virtual-pinhole PET insert systems, Phys. Med. Biol. 57:2517-2538, 2012 (PMCID: PMC3370660)
6. AL Goertzen, Q Bao, M Bergeron, E Blankemeyer, S Blinder, M Cañadas, AF Chatziioannou, K Dinelle, E Elhami, HS Jans, E Lage, R Lecomte, V Sossi, S Surti, Y-C Tai, JJ Vaquero, E Vicente, DA Williams and R Laforest, NEMA NU 4-2008 Comparison of Preclinical PET Imaging Systems, J Nucl Med. 53(8):1300-09, 2012
7. S Komarov, Y Yin, H Wu, J Wen, H Krawczynski, L-J Meng and Y-C Tai, Investigation of the limitations of highly pixilated CdZnTe detector for PET applications, Phys. Med. Biol. 57:7355-80, 2012
8. F ur-Rehman, Y-C Tai and AL Goertzen, Use of systematic surface roughing to enhance the spatial resolution of dual-ended readout of axially-oriented 100 mm long LYSO crystals, Phys. Med. Biol. 57:N501-N512, 2012
9. Wu H and Tai Y-C, A Novel Phoswich Imaging Detector for Simultaneous Beta and Coincidence-Gamma Imaging of Plant Leaves, Phys. Med. Biol.56: 5583-5598, 2011
10. Komarov S, Song TY, Wu H, Tai Y-C, Parallel Beam Approximation for Calculation of Detection Efficiency of Crystals in PET Detector Arrays, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci., 58-5:2148-54, 2011
11. Komarov SA, Wu H, Keesing DB, O’Sullivan JA, Tai Y-C, Compton Scattering in Clinical PET/CT with High Resolution Half Ring PET Insert Device, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 57-3:1045-1051, 2010
12. Song TY, Wu H, Komarov SA, Siegel SB, Tai Y-C, Sub-millimeter resolution PET detector module using multi-pixel photon counter array, Phys. Med. Biol. 55:2573-2587, 2010.
13. Wu H, Pal D, Song TY, O’Sullivan JA, Tai Y-C, Micro Insert: A Prototype Full-ring PET Device for Improving the Image Resolution of a Small-Animal PET Scanner, J Nucl Med. 49(10):1668-1676, 2008.
14. Tai Y-C, Wu H, Pal D, O’Sullivan JA, Virtual-Pinhole PET, J Nucl Med. 49(3):471-479, 2008
15. Wu H, Pal D, O’Sullivan JA, Tai Y-C, A Feasibility Study of a Prototype PET Insert Device to Convert a General Purpose Animal PET Scanner to Higher Resolution, J Nucl Med. 49(1):79-87, 2008.
16. Ponde DE, Dence CS, Oyama N, Kim J, Tai Y-C, Laforest R, Siegel BA, Welch MJ., 18F-Fluoroacetate: A Potential Acetate Analog for Prostate Tumor Imaging--In Vivo Evaluation of 18F-Fluoroacetate Versus 11C-Acetate, J Nucl Med. 48(3):420-8, 2007.
17. Pal D, O’Sullivan JA, Wu H, Janecek M, Tai Y-C, 2D Linear and Iterative Reconstruction Algorithms for a PET-Insert Scanner, Phys. Med. Biol. 52:4293-4310, 2007.
18. Kim J, Herrero P, Sharp T, Laforest R, Rowland DJ, Tai Y-C, Lewis JS, Welch MJ, Minimally Invasive Method of Determining Blood Input Function from PET Images in Rodents, J Nucl. Med. 47:330-336, 2006.
19. Janecek M, Wu H, Tai Y-C, A Simulation Study for the Design of a Prototype Insert for Whole-Body PET Scanners, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 53-3:1143-9, 2006.
20. Tai Y-C, Wu H, Janecek M, Initial Study of an Asymmetric PET System Dedicated to Breast Cancer Imaging, IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 53-1:121-6, 2006.
21. Tai Y-C, Ruangma A, Rowland D, Siegel S, Newport DF, Chow P, Laforest R: Performance Evaluation of the microPET-Focus: A Third Generation microPET Scanner Dedicated to Animal Imaging. J. Nucl. Med. 46:455-463, 2005.
22. Yang Y, Tai Y-C, Siegel S, Newport DF, Bai B, Li Q, Leahy RM, Cherry SR: Optimization and Performance Evaluation of the microPET II Scanner for Small-Animal Imaging. Phys. Med. Bio. 49:1-19, 2004.
23. Tai Y-C, Chatziioannou AF, Yang Y, Silverman R W, Meadors K, Siegel S, Newport D F, Stickel J R and Cherry S R: MicroPET II: Design, Development and Initial Performance of an Improved microPET Scanner for Small-Animal Imaging.  Phys. Med. Bio. 48-11:1519-37, 2003.
24. Kudo T, Fukuchi K, Annala AJ, Chatziioannou A, Allada V, Dahlbom M, Tai Y-C, Inubushi M, Huang SC, Cherry SR, Phelps ME, Schelbert HR:  Noninvasive Measurement of Myocardial Activity Concentrations and Perfusion Defect Sizes in Rats with a New Small-Animal Positron Emission Tomograph.  Circulation. 106:118-123, 2002.
25. Tai Y-C, Chatziioannou AF, Siegel S, Young J, Newport D, Goble RN, Nutt RE, Cherry SR:  Performance Evaluation of the microPET P4: A PET System Dedicated to Small Animal Imaging.  Phys. Med. Bio. 46-7:1845-62, 2001.

Books and Book Chapters:
1. Tai, Y-C, PET/SPECT: Instrumentation and Imaging Techniques. In Drug Delivery Applications of Noninvasive Imaging, Chun Li and Mei Tian (eds). Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2013
2. Tai Y-C. PET/microPET Imaging. In Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging, Gropler RJ, Glover DK, Sinusas AJ, Taegtmeyer H (eds). Informa Healthcare, London, UK, 2007.
3. Tai Y-C. MicroPET Imaging. In Proceedings of the 2005 Animal Molecular Imaging Symposium, Yen TC (ed), Excerpta Medica, Elsevier Health Sciences, Hong Kong, 2006.

Invited Review/Articles:
Tai Y-C and Laforest R: Instrumentation Aspects of Animal PET. Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng. 7:10.1-10.31, 2005