Jacobs School Welcomes Dr. Rutao Yao, Renowned Scholar, as Interim Chair

Published January 24, 2024

Dr. Yao in a gret suit in a lab setting.

Dear Jacobs School Community, 

I'm pleased to welcome Rutao Yao, PhD, a renowned medical physicist in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, as the new interim chair of the Department of Nuclear Medicine. We are confident Dr. Yao's leadership and expertise will build upon the department's strong foundation and propel it to even greater heights.

Dr. Yao boasts a distinguished career in nuclear medicine imaging technology development, education, and service, joining our faculty 21 years ago. His passion for advancing imaging technology is evident in his research on single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET), culminating in quantitative imaging techniques and breakthrough system design concepts toward imaging system’s performance advancement.

He teaches five courses annually for UB’s nationally accredited Nuclear Medicine Technology undergraduate and Medical Physics graduate programs. Dr. Yao also leads an animal PET lab that has been supporting UB and Roswell Park investigators’ biomedical and pharmaceutical research for 19 years.

With a passion for advancing imaging technologies, his focus on SPECT and PET innovations has yielded a novel concept of self-collimation that promises to improve the resolution and sensitivity of SPECT systems in orders of magnitude. His group has developed the techniques for adding SPECT capabilities to existing PET scanners, which not only provide a cost-effective solution for democratizing access to advanced molecular imaging technologies, but also paved the way of merging the technologies of SPECT and PET systems.

A graduate of Tsinghua University and the University of Sherbrooke, Dr. Yao further honed his expertise through a prestigious National Institutes of Health fellowship. He is well known in the medical imaging community; he is the managing editor of the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging (Impact Factor 10.6) and was the co-chair of the 2023 IEEE Medical Imaging Conference. This exceptional background, coupled with his 43 peer-reviewed journal articles, speaks volumes about his dedication to the field.

Dr. Yao's proven track record in groundbreaking research and rigorous specialist training, coupled with his visionary leadership and deep expertise, make him the ideal candidate to steer the department toward continued success in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

He succeeds Robert S. Miletich, MD, PhD, whose distinguished leadership for the past decade is deeply appreciated.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Yao to his new role! We are confident that his leadership will be instrumental in shaping the future of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

With deepest admiration,

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA
Vice President for Health Sciences and
Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo