School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine




Education and Training:

Post-doctoral Training:

USC Molecular Imaging Center (Mentor: Professor Peter S Conti)

University of Southern California, California, USA                                      7/2007 - 9/2010   

Graduate study

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Shanghai, China       

PhD in RadiopharmaceuticalSciences and Molecular Imaging                    5/2004—7/2007

Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China                                MS in Chemistry       9/2001—5/2004    

East China Institute of Technology, Fuzhou, China     BS in Chemistry       9/1997—7/2001       

Professional Appointments:

Chemist, PET Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan                                9/2010 –Present

Assistant Professorof Radiology and Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine  

                                                                                                                    9/2010 –Present

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine                                                                                                                                      7/2007 – 9/2010

Research Activity:

My current research focuses on developing novel PET tracers for imaging various cancers and neurologic diseases, and translating these imaging probes from preclinical discovery to clinical investigation. In past several years, I have worked on multiple projects including:

  1. Developing new 18F, 11C, 64Cu labeled compounds for PET imaging novel biomarkers in various diseases for the early detection of biological abnormalities and the efficacy evaluation of targeted therapy.
  2. Develop new 18F/64Cu labeling methodologies, such as novel 18F labeling via Bioorthogonal chemistry; novel in vivo stable bifunctional chelators for 64Cu or other metal isotope radiolabeled peptides, antibodies, proteins, and nanoparticles.
  3. Clinical research PET drugs (18F /11C labeled compounds) production for PET imaging cancer and neurologic diseases, such as [18F/11C]FMAU, [18F]FLT, and [18F]FAU for cell proliferation imaging; [11C]FMZ for imaging GABA /central benzodiazepine receptors; [11C]PK-11195 for visualizing brain inflammation in patients with neuronal damage; [11C]Alpha-methyl Tryptophan (AMT) for determining serotonin synthesis, and [11C]leucine for quantitative determination of regionalrates of cerebral protein synthesis; [18F]Fallypride for dopamine D2 receptor imaging.
  4. Preparing known PET tracers and the automated radiosynthesis modules for preclinical studies, [18F]FHBG, [18F]FEAU, and other nucleosidesfor reporter gene HSV1-tk imaging; [18F]FMISO/64Cu-PTSM for tumor hypoxia/blood flow imaging, 64Cu labeled cyclic RGD peptide derivatives for integrin receptors imaging.

Honors and awards:

2010                Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council Young Investigator Award (57th SNM)

2010                57th SNMTravel Award

2009                18th International Symposium on Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Travel Award

2007 - 2009     USC Biomedical Imaging Science Initiative Post doctorate Fellowship

2007               “Excellent Graduate Award” - Shanghai Higher Education System 

2006 - 2007    “Distinguished Graduate Award” - Chinese Academy of Sciences             

2005 - 2006    “Excellent Student Award” - Chinese Academy of Sciences 

2003 - 2004    “Demei Scholarship” - Jiangnan University 


Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles (* Corresponding author)

  1. Hancheng Cai*, Thomas J. Mangner, Otto Muzik, Pulak K. Chakraborty,Diane C. Chugani, Harry T. Chugani.Fully AutomatedProduction of 11C-Doxepin for PET Imaging Histamine H1 Receptor. Mol Imaging Biol. 2012Jan 7. [Epub ahead of print]. 
  2. Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li, Conti P S.The improved syntheses of 5-substituted 2′-[18F]fluoro-2′-deoxy-arabinofuranosyluracil derivatives([18F]FAU, [18F]FEAU, [18F]FFAU, [18F]FCAU, [18F]FBAU, and [18F]FIAU) usinga multi-step-one-pot strategy.Nucl Med and Biol. 2011,38: 659-666. 
  3. Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li, Chiun-Wei Huang, Ryan Park, Conti P S.64Cu Labeled AmBaSar-RGD2 for micro-PET Imaging of Integrin αvβ3 Expression. Current Radiopharmaceuticals. 2011, 4, 68-74.
  4. Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li, Chiun-Wei Huang, Tony Shahinian, Hui Wang, Ryan Park, Conti P S. Evaluation of 64Cu labeling new stable bifunctional chelator AmBaSar conjuagated cyclic RGD peptide (64Cu-AmBaSar-RGD) for improved microPET imaging of integrin αvβ3 expression.Bioconjugate Chem., 2010, 21: 1417-1424.
  5. Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li, Chiun-Wei Huang, Ryan Park, Tony Shahinian, Conti P S. An improved synthesis and biological evaluation of a new cage-like bifunctional chelator 4-((8-amino-3, 6, 10, 13, 16, 19- hexaazabicyclo [6.6.6] icosane-1-ylamino) methyl) benzoic acid (AmBaSar) for 64Cu-radiopharmaceuticals. Nucl Med and Biol., 2010, 37: 57-65.
  6. Hancheng Cai, Fissekis J, Conti P S. Synthesis of a novel bifunctional chelator AmBaSar based on sarcophagine for peptide conjugation and64Cu radiolabeling.Dalton Trans.,2009, 5395-5400.
  7. Zibo Li, Hancheng Cai, Matthew Hassink, Melissa L. Blackman, Richard C. D. Brown, Peter S. Conti and Joseph M. Fox. Tetrazine–trans-cyclooctene ligation for the rapid construction of 18F labeled probes.Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 8043–8045
  8. Zibo Li, Hancheng Cai, Conti P S. Automated synthesis of 2′-deoxy-2′-[18F]fluoro-5-methyl-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (18F-FMAU) using one reactor radiosynthesis module.Nucl Med and Biol.2011, 38, 201-206.
  9. Zibo Li, Hancheng Cai, Conti P S. One pot synthesis of 2′-deoxy-2′-[18F]fluoro-5-methyl-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (18F-FMAU)Current Radiopharmaceuticals.  2011, 4, 24-30.
  10. Hancheng Cai,Duanzhi Yin, Lan Zhang, Xiaofeng Yang, et al. Preparation and biological evaluation of 2-amino-6-[18F]fluoro-9-(4-hydroxy-3-hydroxy-methylbutyl) purine (6-[18F]FPCV) as a novel PET probe for imaging HSV1-tk reporter gene expression. Nucl Med and Biol, 2007, 34: 717-725.
  11. Huang CW, Li Z,  Hancheng Cai, Shahinian AH, Conti P S.Novel α2β1 Integrin Targeted Peptide Probes for Prostate Cancer Imaging. Molecular Imaging. 2011, 10: 284-294. 
  12. Huang CW, Li Z, Hancheng Cai, Shahinian AH, Conti PS. Biological Stability Evaluation of the α2β1 Receptor Imaging Agents: Diamsar and DOTA Conjugated DGEA Peptide.Bioconjugate Chem., 2011, 22: 256-263.
  13. Huang CW, Li Z, Hancheng Cai, Kai Chen, Shahinian AH, Conti PS.  Design, synthesis and validation of integrin α2β1-targeted probe for microPET imaging of prostate cancer.Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging.2011, 38:1313–1322.
  14. Zibo Li, Qiaoling Jin, Chiunwei Huang, Siva Dasa, Liaohai Chen, Li-peng Yap, Shuanglong Liu, Hancheng Cai, Ryan Park, Peter S Conti.  Trackable and Targeted Phage as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Agent for Cancer Imaging. Theranostics. 2011,1: 371-380. 
  15. Hancheng Cai, Yin DZ, Zhang L, Wang YX. The synthesis of a new probe for PET imaging reporter gene HSV1-tk: 2-amino-6- [18F] fluoro-9- (4-hydroxy-3-hydroxy-methylbutyl) purine (6-[18F]fluoropenciclovir). J Label Compd Radiopharm,2006, 49: 653-661.
  16. Hancheng Cai, Yin DZ, Zhang L, Wang YX. The new convenient synthesis of fluorinated Penciclovir analogues 9-(4-fluoro-3-hydroxymethylbutyl) guanine (FHBG) and 2-amino-6-fluoro-9-(4-hydroxy-3-hydroxymethylbutyl) purine (6-Fluoro-penciclovir). J Fluro Chem,2006, 128: 837- 841.
  17. Hancheng Cai, Yin DZ, Zhang L, Li GC, Zheng MQ, Wang YX. PET molecular probes for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Int J Radiat Med Nucl Med. 2006, 30(4): 202-205.
  18. Hancheng Cai; Gao, H; Fang, YJ; Jiang, CL; Fang, Y. Esterification between Amyl Alcohol Isomers and n-Caprylic Acid under Microwave Irradiation-Enzyme Coupling Catalysis(MIECC).Acta Chim. Sinica. 2004, 62: 923- 928.
  19. Hancheng Cai; Fang Y.; Xia, Y.M.Cai, K.A Novel Catalytic Technique: Microwave Irradiation-Enzyme Coupling Catalysis.Chin. J. Org. Chem. 2003, 23: 298–304.
  20. Dengfeng Cheng, Duanzhi Yin, Gucai Li, Mingwei Wang, Shiqiang Li, Mingqiang Zheng, Hancheng Cai, Yongxian Wang. Radiolabeling and in vitro and in vivo characterization of [18F]FB-[R8,15,21,L17]-VIP as a PET imaging agent for tumor over-expressed VIP receptors. Chem Biol Drug Des. 2006,68: 319–325.
  21. Mingwei Wang, Duanzhi Yin, Dengfeng Cheng, Gucai Li, Mingqiang Zheng, Hancheng Cai, Sheng Liang, Hua Sheng, Jiong Zhang, Yongxian Wang. Novel synthesis and biological evaluationof O-(2-[18F]fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine. Chin J Nucl Med. 2006, 26(4):238-240.
  22. Ming-qiang Zheng, Duan-zhi Yin, Lan Zhang, Bei Lei, Deng-feng Cheng, Hancheng Cai, Yan-jiang Han, Ming-xing Wu, Hong Zhang, Jing Wang. Biological characters of [18F]O-FEt-PIB in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease using micro-PET imaging.Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 2008, 29: 548-554.

Selected Meeting papers

  1. Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li, Chiun-Wei Huang, Tony Shahinian, Ryan Park, Conti P S. Preparation and Biological Evaluation of 64Cu Labeled AmBaSar-RGD Peptide for Improved microPET Imaging of Integrin αvβ3 Expression.SNM 57h Annual meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah2010, (oral presentation as Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council Young Investigator Award Symposium).
  2. Zibo Li, Hancheng Cai, Conti P S. Improved synthesis of 2′-deoxy-2′-[18F]fluoro-5-methyl-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (18F-FMAU).SNM 57h Annual meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah2010, (oral).
  3. Hancheng Cai, Fissekis J, Conti P S.Synthesis and labeling of a novel caged-like bifunctional chelator AmBaSar for preparation of 64Cu-radiopharmaceuticals. (18th International Symposium on Radiopharmaceutical Sciences.Canada 2009, oral.)
  4. Hancheng Cai, Fissekis J, Park R, Huang C, Conti P S. Synthesis of a novel bifunctional chelator AmBaSar based on sarcophagine for peptide conjugation and 64Cu radiolabeling. J Nucl Med (SNM 56th Annual meeting, Toronto, Canada, 2009, Abstract).
  5. Huang C, Hancheng Cai, Li Z, Conti PS. Novel α2β1 integrin targeting peptide probes for prostate cancer imaigng. SNM 56th Annual meeting, Toronto, Canada, 2009.
  6. Hancheng Cai, Duanzhi Yin, Lan Zhang, Jing Wang, Yongxian Wang.In Vitro and vivo evaluation of 2-amino-6-[18F]fluoro-9-(4-hydroxy-3-hydroxy- methylbutyl) purine (6-[18F]FPCV) as a new PET probe for imaging HSV1-tk reporter gene expression.J Label Compd Radiopharm. 2007, 50:S58. (17th International Symposium on Radiopharmaceutical Sciences.Germany 2007, oral.)
  7. Hancheng Cai, Duanzhi Yin, Lan Zhang, Yongxian Wang, The Convenient Synthesis 6-[18F]Fuoropenciclovir as a novel Probe for PET Reporter Gene Imaging. The 5th annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Imaging, Hawaii, 2006.
  8. Zibo Li, Qiaoling Jin, Chiunwei Huang, Liaohai Chen, Li-peng Yap, Hancheng Cai, Ryan Park, Peter S. Conti. Trackable and targeted phage as positron emission tomography (PET) agent for cancer imaging. Nano in Cancer: Linking Chemistry, Biology, and Clinical Applications in Vivo. Miami, Florida, 2011
  9. Zibo Li, Ramajeyam Selvaraj, Chiun-Wei Huang, Matthew Hassink, Hancheng Cai, Melissa Blackman, Joseph Fox, Peter Conti. Tetrazine-trans-cyclooctene ligation (TTCO ligantion) for the rapid construction of 18F labeled probes. SNM 58th Annual meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 2011.


  1. Lan Zhang, Hancheng Cai, Duanzhi Yin, Yongxian Wang. Preparation method and application of 2-amino-6- [18F] fluoro-9- (4-hydroxy-3-hydroxy-methylbutyl) purine (6-[18F]FPCV).200610026601.5 (China).
  2. Lan Zhang, Hancheng Cai, Duanzhi Yin, Yongxian Wang. Synthesis 2-amino-6-fluoro-9-(4-hydroxy-3-hydroxymethylbutyl) purine and its intermediates. 200610026602.X (China)
  3. Conti P S, Hancheng Cai, Zibo Li. Sarcophagine based bifunctional chelators, copper-64 radiopharmaceuticals and PET imaging using the same. US Patent (20100196271).
  4. Zibo Li,Hancheng Cai, Conti P S.  Improved synthesis of 2′-deoxy-2′-[18F]fluoro-5-methyl-1-β-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (18F-FMAU). US Patent (WO 2012009666)

Scholar Service:


             Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences                                                   2009 – Present

             Society of Nuclear Medicine                                                                         2008 – Present

             American Association for Cancer Research                                                 2008 – Present

             Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine                                            2010– Present

   Grant Review:

       The Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund (MTTCF)

  Journal Review:

        Journal of Radioanalytical & Nuclear Chemistry (Editorial Boards)

        Nuclear Medicine and Biology

        Molecular Imaging and Biology

        Applied Radiation and Isotopes

        Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters

        Royal Society of Chemistry   Analyst

        International Journal of Biomedical Imaging