Radiology and Imaging Sciences

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Nuclear Medicine: Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics Fellowship

The one-year ACGME-accredited Nuclear Medicine: Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics Fellowship program builds on the nuclear medicine knowledge accumulated during a resident’s time in an accredited Diagnostic Radiology Residency  program to strengthen competence in all aspects of clinical and academic nuclear medicine. Upon completion of the fellowship, participants are capable of running a nuclear medicine clinical service and are experts in the use of nuclear medicine procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Nuclear Medicine fellows at IU School of Medicine gain a firm understanding of the physical principles and mechanisms involved in the emission and detection of radiation, the synthesis and localization of radiopharmaceuticals, and the operation of instrumentation and the biological effects of radiation.

Education Training

Given that IU School of Medicine is also home to one of the largest Diagnostic Radiology residency programs in the United States, Nuclear Medicine fellows have ample opportunity to interact with diagnostic radiology residents and gain experience in post-graduate medical education.

Research Experience

By functioning within the school’s large radiology research department, fellows in this program can also gain experience in translational and clinical research as it pertains to nuclear medicine.

Clinical Care

Fellows benefit from the large volume and variety of studies performed at IU Health University Hospital and its affiliates. In the early stages of training, faculty directly supervise fellows; and fellows gain increasing responsibility as they mature within this subspeciality. The radiology team works closely with colleagues in endocrinology, surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology to provide a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

Program Requirements

Participants in this fellowship program participate in clinical didactic and multidisciplinary conferences, didactic physics and radiation safety conferences, and the annual departmental Campbell-Klatte research symposium. Fellows receive individualized mentoring by American Board of Nuclear Medicine-qualified physicians with expertise in a wide range of nuclear medicine topics. At the completion of the Nuclear Medicine fellowship program, participants are qualified to sit for the American Board of Nuclear Medicine certification examination and have the knowledge and abilities necessary to run a nuclear medicine department.

Facilities and Equipment

Fellows in the Nuclear Medicine program practice at five different sites in Indianapolis. The varied hospital settings and diverse patient populations at each of the school’s clinical partner sites ensure a well-rounded training experience.

  • IU Health University Hospital: Nuclear Medicine fellows spending the majority of their time at this hospital, which provides a wide range of both diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures, especially in conjunction with the attached Simon Cancer Center. The cancer center houses a Siemens 64-slice PET/CT camera, enabling the teaching faculty of the IU School of Medicine radiology department to perform 10 to 12 PET/CT exams each day, totaling more than 12,000 nuclear medicine and PET/CT exams each year, with an emphasis on thyroid imaging, thyroid therapy and oncologic imaging.
  • IU Health Methodist Hospital: This hospital boasts a newly renovated nuclear medicine department and reading room, and a varied mixture of nuclear medicine studies are performed here, including a routine four to eight PET/CT scans daily as well as diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures. Along with the five gamma cameras, Methodist Hospital houses a Phillips 64-slice PET/CT camera with time-of-flight technology.
  • Riley Hospital for Children: Fellows rotate at this nationally celebrated children’s hospital, located on the IU School of Medicine Indianapolis campus, and experience a wide spectrum of imaging procedures tailored to the pediatric population. Emphasis here is on oncologic, cardiac, gastrointestinal and genitourinary imaging. The hospital has three gamma cameras for planar and SPECT imaging.
  • Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital: Nuclear medicine fellows also rotate at this county hospital, which treats underserved populations of Marion County, exposing fellows to a wide variety of nuclear medicine imaging studies with emphasis on cardiac imaging, infection imaging and management of thyroid disease. This facility has four gamma cameras.
  • Neuroscience Center: The neuroscience programs at the Neuroscience Center, located adjacent to IU Health Methodist Hospital on the IU School of Medicine–Indianapolis campus, offer nuclear medicine fellows opportunities to interact with neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and neurologists. The Neuroscience Imaging Center in Goodman Hall has a 128-slice time-of-flight PET/CT scanner for outpatient clinical work.

Curriculum

This fellowship focuses on understanding the mechanisms of traditional radionuclide therapy, including targeted radiotherapy in the category of radio immunotherapy (RIT) and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PPRT). A growing concept of theranostics, wherein a given ligand can function as an agent for both diagnosis and therapy, is integrated into the existing educational programs. For example, 68Ga-DOTA-TATE, an agent that maps presence, location and density of somatostatin receptors in NEN can be labeled with a beta-emitting radionuclide as 177Lu-DOTA-TATE and used for targeted PPRT.

Call Responsibilities

Call responsibilities for fellows in the Nuclear Medicine program begin three months into the fellowship, typically in early October. Call consists of reading any emergent nuclear medicine study that is performed after 5p at any of the participating clinical facilities. Call is shared between fellows and faculty, and the week-long shift begins on Monday evening and ends the following Monday morning. Call can easily be done remotely from home or via computer. Fellows in this program always have an attending physician back-up when they are on call.