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Rutao                          Yao

Rutao Yao PhD

Department of Nuclear Medicine


Specialty/Research Focus

Nuclear Medicine

Professional Summary:

My research focus is on advancing the technology of nuclear medicine imaging, a non-invasive, in vivo, functional molecular imaging modality. The goal is to provide accurate and cost effective imaging solutions to support biomedical applications such as early disease diagnosis, early treatment assessment, and short development cycle of new drugs.

My research projects are in three areas. One is about improving the quality of nuclear medicine imaging systems, namely positron emission tomography (PET), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), through accurate modeling, and therefore compensating, of the physical factors involved in the radiation signal detection process. One example is that we developed a probability density function based PET system matrix derivation method, and implemented the method through Monte Carlo simulation on UB’s high performance computing clusters. The method provides a systematic and comprehensive scheme for modeling any nuclear medicine imaging systems.

The second area of my research is about developing multiple imaging functionalities on top of existing nuclear medicine imaging systems or on a platform with shared system components. The advantage of this strategy includes the synergetic benefits of a multiple modality system, and the cost saving from sharing resources. An example project is that we developed an add-on SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) on an existing PET (positron emission tomography) scanner. This allows the PET detector system be used for performing both PET and SPECT imaging studies with the combined libraries of PET and SPECT radiopharmaceuticals.

My third research area is about developing effective imaging protocols for applications using animal PET and other imaging systems. This usually involves collaboration with researchers in other specialties.

Education and Training:
  • Ph.D., Radiobiology, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (1997)
  • ME, Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (1987)
  • BS, Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, P. R. China (1985)
  • Professor, Biophysical Sciences, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2013-present)
  • Professor, Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2013-present)
  • Professor, Pharmacy Practice, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2013-present)
  • Associate Professor, Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2008–2013)
  • Assistant Professor, Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2002–2008)
  • Scientist, Digirad Corporation (1999–2002)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Nuclear Medicine, National Institutes of Health (1997–1999)
  • Lecturer, Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University, China (1990–1993)
  • Instructor, Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University (1987–1990)
Awards and Honors:
  • Prix d’Excellence, d’Innovation et d’Implication du Regroupement des Étudia (1997)

Research Expertise:
  • Medical Imaging System Development: SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) system modeling, simulation, development, and statistical image reconstruction.
UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:
  • Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics
  • Information and Computing Technology
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • March 2008–January 2014
    Multifunctional Photosensitizers for Image Guided Brain Tumors
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • July 2008–March 2012
    Solid State X-ray Image Intensifier (SSXII) Development
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • October 2010–September 2011
    Development of a Small Animal Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Computed Tomography (CT) Dual Function Imager with an X-ray Detector
    Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2010–September 2011
    Computing Infrastructure to Advance Biomedical Research
    NIH National Center of Research Resources
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • May 2008–April 2010
    Investigating the utility of the tri-functional agents for imaging (PET/SPECT) and phototherapy with a newly developed hybrid PET and SPECT system
    Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Grant
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • July 2007–July 2009
    Quantitative High Resolution Human Brain Imaging
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • October 2006–October 2007
    Quantification and correction of non-annihilation coincidences in I-124 and Y-86 PET imaging
    Siemens Medical Solutions USA
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2004–September 2005
    Model the Line-of-Response Spread Function of HRRT
    CPS Innovations
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:
  • Yao R, Deng R, Wei Q, Dai T, Ma T, Lecomte R. Multi-pinhole SPECT helical scan parameters and imaging volume. Medical Physics. 2015; 42.
  • Wang S, Ma T, Yao R. Axial Movement Parameter Optimization on Slit-Slat SPECT. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2015; 62.
  • Fan P, Ma T, Wei Q, Yao R, Liu Y, Wang S. Choose Crystal Surface Finishing for a Dual-ended Readout Depth-of-Interaction (DOI) Detector. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2015; 60.
  • Jian Y, Yao R, Mulnix T, Jin X, Carson R. Applications of the line-of-response probability density function resolution model in PET list mode reconstruction. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2015; 60.
  • Gupta A, Wang S, Marko A, Joshi P, Ethirajan M, Chen Y, Yao R, Sajjad M, Kopelman R, Pandey R. Polyacrylamide-Based Biocompatible Nanoplatform Enhances the Tumor Uptake, PET/fluorescence Imaging and Anticancer Activity of a Chlorophyll Analog. Theranostics. 2014; 4(6).
  • X. Deng, J.-F. Beaudoin, J. Cadorette, C. Naaman, R. Lecomte, and R. Yao. PET imaging based geometrical calibration for a dual-modality PET/SPECT animal scanner. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2013; 58.
  • Y. Xia, R. Yao, X. Deng, Y. Liu, S. Wang, and T. Ma. A Hybrid Rotation-Translation Scan Scheme for In Vivo Animal SPECT Imaging on a Stationary Scanner. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2013; 58.
  • M. Sajjad, U. Riaz, R. Yao, M. M. Abouzeid, D. A. Erb, R. J. Bernacki, N. D. Chaudhary, J. M. Veith, G. Georg and H. A. Nabi. 3’-(3-[123, 124I]iodobenzoyl)-3’-debenzoylpaclitaxel as radio-tracers to study multidrug resistance in vivo. Applied Radiation and Isotopes. 2012; 70.
  • R. Yao, R. Lecomte, and E. S. Crawford. Small-Animal PET: what is it and why do we need it. Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology. 2012.
  • A. Jain, A. Panse, D. R. Bednarek, R. Yao, and S. Rudin. Evaluation of the Micro-Angiographic Fluoroscope as a High Resolution, Single-Photon Counting and Energy Integrating Imager for Transmission and Emission Imaging. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2012.
  • R. Yao, R. M. Ramachandra, N. Mahajan, V. Rathod, N. Gunasekar, A. Panse, T. Ma, Y. Jian, J. Yan, R. E. Carson. Assessment of a Three-Dimensional Line-of-Response Probability Density Function System Matrix for PET. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2012.
  • R. Yao, X. Deng, J.-F. Beaudoin, T. Ma, J. Cadorette, Z. Cao, and R. Lecomte. Initial Evaluation of a Lab-PET/SPECT Dual Modality Animal Imaging System. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2012.
  • X. Deng, T. Ma, R. Lecomte, and R. Yao. Optimization and calibration of septa-to-crystal position for a SPECT with slit-slat collimator and pixelated crystals. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2011; 58.
  • Ma, T, Miao, Y, Yao R, Dai, T, Deng, X. Quantitative Accuracy Assessment and Optimization of SPECT Geometrical Calibration. Tsinghua Science and Technology. 2010; 15.
  • Yao R, Ma T, Shao Y. A SVD-based method to assess the uniqueness and accuracy of SPECT geometrical calibration. IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. 2009; 28(12).
  • Yao R, Ma T,and Shao Y. Derivation of system matrix from simulation data for an animal SPECT with slit-slat collimator. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2009; 56(5).
  • S. K. Pandey, M. Sajjad, Y. Chen, A. Pandey, J. R. Missert, C. Batt, R. Yao, H. A. Nabi, A. R. Oseroff and R. K. Pandey. Compared to Purpurinimides, the Pyropheophorbide Containing an Iodobenzyl Group Showed Enhanced PDT Efficacy and Tumor Imaging (124I-PET) Ability. Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2009; 20(2).
  • S. K. Pandey, M. Sajjad, Y. Chen, X. Zheng, R. Yao, J. R. Missert, C. Batt, H. A. Nabi, A. R. Oseroff and R. K. Pandey. Comparative PET Imaging and Phototherapeutic Potential of 124I- Labeled Methyl- 3-(1’-m-iodobenzyloxyethyl) pyropheophorbide-a vs. the Corresponding Glucose- and Galactose-Conjugates. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2009; 52(2).
  • Y. Shao, R. Yao and T. Ma. A novel method to calibrate the DOI function of a PET detector with a dual-scintillator-ends readout. Medical Physics. 2008; 35.
  • R. Yao, T. Ma and Y. Shao. Lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO) intrinsic activity correction and minimal detectable target activity study for SPECT imaging with a LSO-based animal PET scanner. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2008; 53.
  • M. D. Jones, R. Yao, C. P. Bhole. Parallel OSEM Reconstruction Speed with MPI, OpenMP, and hybrid MPI-OpenMP Programming Models. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2006; 53.
  • Rutao Yao, Jurgen Seidel, Jeih-San Liow and Michael V. Green. Attenuation Correction for the NIH ATLAS Small Animal PET Scanner. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2005; 19(8).
  • Yao R, Seidel J, Johnson CA, Daube-Witherspoon ME, Green MV, Carson RE. Performance characteristics of the 3-D OSEM algorithm in the reconstruction of small animal PET images.. IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. 2000; 19(8).
  • Yao R, Msaki P, Lecomte R. Pre-processing variance reducing techniques in multispectral positron emission tomography.. Phys Med Biol. 1997; 42(11).
  • R. Yao, M. Bentourkia and R. Lecomte. Study of multispectral frame-by-frame convolution scatter correction in high resolution PET. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 1997; 44.
  • R. Lecomte, J. Cadorette, S. Rodrigue, D. Rouleau, M. Bentourkia, R. Yao and P. Msaki. Initial results from the Sherbrooke avalanche photodiode PET scanner. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 1996; 43.
  • R. Yao, P. Msaki, M. Bentourkia and R. Lecomte. Effects of energy space smoothing and projection space normalization on multispectral PET image quality. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 1996; 43.
See all (17 more)

Professional Memberships:
  • IEEE Society of Plasma and Nuclear Science (1996–present)
  • "Derivation of the system matrix for an animal SPECT scanner with rotational collimator and stationary ring detector" IEEE Medical Imaging Conference, IEEE, Small animal imaging (2010)
  • "Development of SPECT Imaging Capability on LabPET-8" IEEE Medical Imaging Conference, IEEE, Small animal imaging (2010)
  • "Geometrical Optimization and Calibration for an Animal PET Converted to SPECT" IEEE Medical Imaging Conference, IEEE, Small animal imaging (2010)
  • "Optimization of Image Object Helical Movement Scheme for an Animal SPECT with Slit-Slat Collimator" IEEE Medical Imaging Conference, IEEE, Small animal imaging (2010)

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Contact Information

105 Parker Hall
3435 Main St.
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 838-5889
Fax: 716 - 838-4918

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