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Personal profile


Dr Adriana Tavares graduated from the School of Health Technology of Porto (ESTSP-IPP), Portugal, with a Nuclear Medicine BSc (Hons.) degree in 2007. She has worked for over 10 years in clinical and preclinical radionuclide imaging and obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal, in 2009, as well as, a PhD degree in radiotracer development from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Glasgow, UK, in 2011. Post-completion of her PhD, Dr Tavares took on a position as Image Processing Analyst and later Imaging Consultant at Molecular NeuroImaging (MNI), New Haven, USA. Currently she is the Head of Preclinical PET/CT Laboratory at Edinburgh Preclinical Imaging (EPI) and a Research Fellow in PET Imaging at the University of Edinburgh.


PhD in Molecular Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering of Porto University (FEUP), Portugal.

BSc (Hons.) Degree in Nuclear Medicine, School of Health Technology of Porto (ESTSP-IPP), Portugal.



Research Interests

 1. Development of novel selective PET and SPECT radiotracers

 Currently, a major limiting factor for studies of humans with PET and SPECT imaging is the availability of high quality radiotracers for a wide range of sites relevant to organ chemistry and function. Moreover, a large proportion of available radiotracers lack pharmacological specificity, targeting more than one site in vivo. Selective radiotracers, which produce high quality images, are key to realize the full potential for PET and SPECT imaging studies both in the process of drug development and in the clinical management of patients. A wider range of radiotracers will also open up many opportunities for studying specific molecular targets relevant to understanding physiological and pathological human conditions.   


2. Repurpose of currently available radiotracers as imaging biomarkers for different clinical applications

 At present, radiotracers used in the clinical setting are often oriented to a single clinical application. However, a given target protein can have different roles depending on the tissue or organ where it is expressed. For example, the adenosine receptors are expressed in both the brain and the heart, but play different roles in the physiology of those distinct tissues. Furthermore, recently, radiotracers targeting the vesicular monoamine transporters type 2, which have been extensively examined in brain applications, have been applied for imaging the pancreas to the study processes underlying the development of diabetes. These examples, illustrate the importance of exploring and/or repurposing currently available radiotracers as imaging biomarkers for different clinical applications, in particular as novel mechanistic pathways are identified via ongoing research.


Collaborative Activity

NHS Lothian, Scotland: Dr Nick Weir, X-ray properties of 3D printed materials.

University of Gothenburg, Sweden: Dr Maria E Johansson, alpha7 nicotinic receptors in cardiovascular research.

DanPET A.B., Sweden: Dr Dan Peters, novel alpha7 nicotinc receptor PET radiotracers. 

University of Washington, US: Dr Robert Miyaoka, preclinical PET/CT and SPECT/CT physics.

University of Ghent, Belgium: Prof Stefaan Vandenberghe, medical imaging and signal processing. Member of the EANM (European Association of Nuclear Medicine) physics committee.

University of Leeds, UK: Prof Sven Plein, cardiovascular research and imaging.

University of Aberdeen, Scotland: Prof Andy Welch, preclinical PET/CT physics.

University of Edinburgh, Scotland:

Prof Charles ffrench-Constant, myelin biology (Centre for Regenerative Medicine, CRM);

Dr Christophe Lucatelli, radiochemistry (Clinical Research Imaging Centre, CRIC);

Prof Mark Bradley, high-throughput chemical biology (School of Chemistry/EastCHEM);

Prof Siddharthan Chandran, regenerative medicine (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, CCBS);

Dr Tilo Kunath, mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s (Centre for Regenerative Medicine, CRM);

Prof Karen Horsburgh, imaging neuroinflammation in mouse model of AD (Centre for Neurodegeneration);

Dr Barry McColl, rodent models of stroke (Roslin Institute);

Dr Marc Vendrell, novel probes for imaging apoptosis (Centre for Inflammation Research, CIR);

Dr Shareen Forbes, functional imaging of beta cells function with PET/CT and 11C-DTBZ (Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, CVS).

Dr Paul Lusby, biocompatible CT contrast agents (School of Chemistry).

University of Glasgow, Scotland: Dr Andrew Sutherland, organic chemistry (School of Chemistry/ WESTChem).

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland: Dr Sally L. Pimlott, Radiotracer discovery and development (also part of the University of Glasgow, School of Medicine).



Research students


Ms Agne Stadulyte (PhD student)

Mr Robert Shaw (PhD student)

Ms Viktoria Balogh (PhD student) 



Ms Victoria Morley (PhD student)  

Ms Wendy McDougald (MScRes and PhD student)  

Mr Tim Morgan (PhD student, joint with University of Glasgow)

Ms Daniela Ribeiro (MScRes student)

Ms Sophie Walker (MScRes student)  

Mr Conor Baxter (BSc Hons. student)

Mr Sam Watson (BSc Hons. student)

Mr Callum Alexander (BSc Hons. student)

Mr Adam Garrow (BSc Hons. and summer student)

Mr Liam Carr (BSc Hons student)

Ms Samah Nimale (BSc Hons student)

Ms Siobhan Moore (BSc Hons student)

Mr Robert Miller (BSc summer student)

Mr Wesley McLoughlin (BSc summer student)


Administrative Roles

2019 - . Co-chair STANDARD study group, European Society for Molecular Imaging (ESMI).  

2016 - . Organizer of internal and external PiW (PET is Wonderful) meetings, University of Edinburgh.  

2016 - . Member of EANM task group for development of preclinical PET/CT guidelines.

2016 - . Member of the animal welfare and ethical review body, University of Edinburgh.

2015. Organizer of the external seminar on “PET and SPECT Imaging: Bringing Chemistry and Biology Together”, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

2014 - . Member of the Edinburgh Preclinical Imaging Committee, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

2014 - . Member of the Molecular Imaging Committee, Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence (SINAPSE).




2017-2020. Preparation of online lectures on PET imaging, part of the MSc online course on PET/MRI, University of Edinburgh, UK.

2018. Research master class on PET imaging for medical students (Research Masterclass - MBChB Year 1), University of Edinburgh, UK.

2017-2019. Lecturer Cardiovascular Pharmacology & Therapeutics Elective Course, University of Edinburgh, UK. 

2014 - ongoing. Supervision of PhD, MSc and BSc students, University of Edinburgh, UK.

2014. eLearning Author – Lecture on preclinical microPET and microSPECT imaging, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.

2011-2012. Supervision of MSc student, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Portugal.

2008. Associated professor – Nuclear Medicine, School of Health Technology of Porto (ESTSP-IPP), Porto, Portugal.





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