The award citation honors Fowler for her pioneering contributions to positron emission tomography [PET], including the development of fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose [FDG], a radiotracer used worldwide for measuring brain function and for diagnosing cancer; and for the development of tracers for monoamine oxidase [MAO] found to be reduced in the brains of smokers.
PET is a research and diagnostic tool that enables researchers to see images of the brain as it functions. In studies with her colleagues using PET, Fowler has made major contributions to the understanding of biochemical processes in addiction, aging and drug action.
I am honored to receive this award, said Fowler. My career as a chemist has taken me on many rewarding paths. There is still so much to uncover concerning the human brain and its diseases, such as addiction. PET and other imaging tools at Brookhaven will help my colleagues and me to continue to investigate these major medical problems.
To document changes in the brain, a PET research subject is injected with a short-lived radiotracer that is attached to one of a number of compounds that bind to specific brain sites. In 1976, Fowler and her colleagues developed FDG, which is the most widely used radiotracer today. FDG is currently used in PET centers to diagnose and study neurological and psychiatric diseases, to aid in the treatment of heart disease, and to diagnose cancer.
In addiction studies at Brookhaven, Fowler was the first to show the binding sites of cocaine in the human brain. Fowler has also developed radiotracers for mapping the enzyme MAO, a
Contact: Diane Greenberg
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory