Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar

Nagichettiar Satyamurthy, Ph.D.


B2-074 Center for Health Sciences

Positions & Affiliations:

Professor, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology

Research Description:

Fluorine -18, a positron emitting radioisotope with a half-life of 109.8 min is the most widely used isotope in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. While [18F] fluoride ion can be tagged in aliphatic systems rather easily, substitution of it on aromatic ring systems is quite challenging. Thus, one of the ongoing research interests in our laboratories is in the development of new, and efficient methodologies for nucleophilic [18F]radiofluorination of aromatic rings in biomarkers useful for positron emission tomography. Two iodine based groups namely, iodyl and iodonium ylide substituted on aromatic ring systems were first identified in our laboratories as potential leaving groups for nucleophilic substitution with [18F] fluoride ion. Reaction mechanistic and radiochemical yield studies of several iodylbenzene and phenyl iodonium ylide derivatives with high specific activity [18F]fluoride ion have been carried out. These studies have enabled the synthesis of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa, a PET biomarker widely used for investigating movement disorders and neuroendocrine tumors in humans. These new reaction methodologies have also permitted, in our laboratories, the synthesis of a [18F]fluorine labeled benzothiazole derivative, which may be useful for imaging ?-amyloid in brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Quite gratifyingly, our novel [18F] fluorination techniques have graciously been adopted by many other laboratories in US, Canada and Europe for the synthesis of a variety of PET biomarkers.

Additional areas of our research focus on the design and synthesis of drug molecules for the inhibition of enzymes involved in nucleoside/nucleotide metabolism and 18F-labeled molecular imaging probes for PET investigation of SGL2 driven cancers and dementia.


N.Satyamurthy, trained as an organic chemist, did his post-doctoral research in the Department of Chemistry at Oklahoma State University in 19080. He then joined the Division of Nuclear Medicine at UCLA in 1981. He has been a faculty member in the Division of Nuclear Medicine in the Department of Radiological Sciences and in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology for well over thirty-six years.