Weibo Cai PhD


  • Director of the UW Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Lab
  • Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor
Imaging Sciences

Picture of Weibo Cai, PhD


Weibo Cai is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Radiology, Medical Physics, Materials Science & Engineering, and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Madison as well as the Director of the UW Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Lab. He received a BS degree in Chemistry from Nanjing University, China (1995) and a PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of California San Diego (2004). Between 2005 and 2008, Dr. Cai did his post-doctoral research in the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University. In February 2008, Dr. Cai joined the University of Wisconsin - Madison as a Biomedical Engineering Cluster Hire, and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2014, and Full Professor in 2018. Dr. Cai’s research at UW-Madison is primarily focused on molecular imaging and nanobiotechnology.

Dr. Cai has authored >390 peer-reviewed articles (total citation: >38,000 times; h-index: 101), edited 3 books, and given >330 talks. Dr. Cai has received many awards, including the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Springer Prize (2011 & 2013), American Cancer Society Research Scholar (2013-2017), EANM Annual Congress Plenary Lecturer (2016), Inaugural Nano Research Young Innovators (NR45) in Nanobiotechnology Award (2018), Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE, 2018), Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate Analytics (Cross-Field, 2018), Fellow of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI, 2019), Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC, 2021), SNMMI Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council’s Michael J. Welch Award (2022), Journal of Nanobiotechnology (JNB) Trailblazer Award (BMC/Springer Nature, 2022), among others.

Dr. Cai has served on the Editorial Board of >20 scientific journals (e.g. Theranostics, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Bioconjugate Chemistry, American Journal of Cancer Research, American Journal of Translational Research, Exploration, etc.), and participated in many grant review panels (NIH, DOD, NSF, American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [CPRIT], Susan G. Komen, European Research Council, Canadian Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Canada, many European countries, etc.). He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Nanobiotechnology, Editor-in-Chief of American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and Associate Editor of European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Dr. Cai is an active member of several scientific societies and he has served on various committees in these societies such as SNMMI Committee on Awards, SNMMI Committee on Scientific Program, SNMMI House of Delegates, SNMMI Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council (Past President), etc. What Dr. Cai is most proud of is that his trainees at UW-Madison have received >150 awards to date, such as the 2012 Berson-Yalow Award from SNMMI, multiple Young Investigator Awards from SNMMI, several post-doctoral fellowships, among others. To date, more than 15 of Dr. Cai’s trainees have started independent research groups at world-class universities (e.g. UW-Madison, Seoul National University, University of Utah, Michigan State University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Nanjing University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Tongji University, Rutgers, etc.).

Dr. Cai has served various roles (e.g. consultant, collaborator, scientific advisor, chief scientific officer) for several industrial corporations. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Focus-X Therapeutics, Inc. (a preclinical biotechnology company in New Jersey, founded in 2020 for development of radiopharmaceuticals), which was acquired by Full-Life Technologies (a Cayman company operated in China and Europe) for more than $200M in 2023.


  • Undergraduate: Nanjing University (P.R. China)
  • Graduate: University of California San Diego (San Diego, CA)