Reinier Hernandez, a graduate student in the Department of Medical Physics, was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) International Travel Allowance. Hernandez is a current member of the UW Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MINL), supervised by Weibo Cai, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of the MINL.
Through GROW, NSF Graduate Fellows are provided with an international travel allowance to engage in research collaborations with experts in partner countries located outside the United States. Hernandez is also supported by a 3 year NSF fellowship and the UW Biotechnology Training Program.
Hernandez will conduct research under the guidance of Professor Otto C. Boerman at Radboud University Nijmegan, located in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Professor Boerman is Head of Preclinical Research at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center.
As an internationally renowned leader in the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, Professor Boerman has more than 370 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM), The European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (EJNMMI), Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals (CB&R), and The American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (AJNMMI).
In addition, Professor Weibo Cai was the co-investigator of a newly awarded $50K pilot grant from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) for a collaborative proposal entitled “Molecular Imaging to Identify Response to Tumor Immunotherapy Using Anti-PD-1”. The primary investigator is Douglas G. McNeel, M.D. Ph.D., Professor of Medicine. In this project, Hernandez will be partnering with Brian Rekoske, a graduate student working in the McNeel Research Laboratory, to use positron emission tomography for non-invasively detecting and monitoring the response to cancer immunotherapy.
Cancer immunotherapy, which functions by unleashing the immune system against tumors, is among the most promising strategies to fight cancer, and was selected as the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year by Science Magazine.