Research Summary

Robert Flavell, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Molecular Imaging in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, and his PhD from the Rockefeller University as part of the Tri-Institutional MD PhD program. He completed his one-year internship at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Flavell completed a four-year diagnostic radiology residency at the University of California, San Francisco, where he also finished a Nuclear Medicine fellowship. In June 2016. he joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Residence. Since 2019, he has been the Chief of the Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics (formerly nuclear medicine), in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging.

Dr. Flavell’s laboratory focuses on the development of new molecular imaging and therapeutic tools for better understanding of disease progression in patients with prostate and other cancers. One area of interest is the relationship between acidic interstitial pH and disease progression, where he has developed new tools to directly image tumor pH using hyperpolarized 13C MRI and positron emission tomography (PET). Another major focus is the development of novel theranostic agents, where new therapies are paired with imaging agents against the same target. Dr. Flavell's research spans from basic chemistry and chemical biology projects, to translational and clinical studies.

Research Funding

  • May 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021 - Application of hyperpolarized 13C interstitial pH imaging to risk stratification in prostate cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIBIB, Sponsor Award ID: R21EB026012
  • May 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021 - Application of hyperpolarized 13C interstitial pH imaging to risk stratification in prostate cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIBIB, Sponsor Award ID: R21EB026012
  • May 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021 - Application of hyperpolarized 13C interstitial pH imaging to risk stratification in prostate cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIBIB, Sponsor Award ID: R21EB026012
  • May 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021 - Application of hyperpolarized 13C interstitial pH imaging to risk stratification in prostate cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIBIB, Sponsor Award ID: R21EB026012

Education

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, B.A., 1996-2000, Mathematics and chemistry
The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, laboratory of Dr. Tom W. Muir, PhD, 2002 - 2010, Peptide and protein chemistry, radiolabeling methods, and PET imaging
Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, MD, 2002 - 2010, Medicine
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010 - 2011, Transitional year intern
Dept of Radiology, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, 2011 - 2015, Diagnostic radiology residency
Dept of Radiology, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 2015 - 2016, Nuclear medicine fellowship

Honors & Awards

  • 2000
    Honors for undergraduate thesis in chemistry, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
  • 2013
    Introduction to Academic Radiology Program, American Roentgen Ray Society
  • 2014
    Certificate of Merit, 2014 Radiology Society of North America meeting
  • 2014
    University of California, San Francisco catalyst program consultation award
  • 2015
    Radiology Society of North America, Roentgen Resident Research award
  • 2015
    Association of University Radiologists Research Scholar Program
  • 2015
    Certificate of Merit, Radiology Society of North America Meeting
  • 2016
    Runner up, Surbeck Scholar’s Award, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2017
    Howard S. Stern Research Award, Society of Abdominal Radiology
  • 2017
    Prostate Cancer Foundation David Blitzer Young Investigator Award
  • 2017
    New Directions in Prostate Cancer Award, Prostate Cancer Program, UCSF
  • 2018
    Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Future Leaders Academy
  • 2019
    Dean's Prize in Mentoring, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2020
    Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging "Ones to Watch"

Selected Publications

  1. Parker M, Blecha J, Rosenberg O, Ohliger M, Flavell RR, Wilson DM Cyclic gallium-68 labeled peptides for specific detection of human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2.  View on PubMed
  2. Mu C, Korenchan DE, Wang S, Wilson DM, Flavell RR Tumor Microenvironment Biosensors for Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.  View on PubMed
  3. Hathi DK, Li W, Seo Y, Flavell RR, Kornak J, Franc BL, Joe BN, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM, Jones EF Evaluation of primary breast cancers using dedicated breast PET and whole-body PET.  View on PubMed
  4. Wang S, Li J, Hua J, Su Y, Beckford Vera DR, Zhao W, Jayaraman M, Huynh TL, Zhao N, Wang YH, Huang Y, Qin F, Shen S, Gioeli D, Dreicer R, Sriram R, Egusa EA, Chou J, Feng FY, Aggarwal R, Evans MJ, Seo Y, Liu B, Flavell RR, He J Molecular imaging of prostate cancer targeting CD46 using immunoPET.  View on PubMed
  5. Raghavan K, Flavell RR, Westphalen AC, Behr SC Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Incidentally Detected on 18F-Fluciclovine PET/CT.  View on PubMed
  6. Waller J, Lawhn-Heath CA, Edmonds C, Wendorf C, Holmes B, White M, Pampaloni M, Liu C, Flavell RR Management of challenging radioiodine treatment protocols: a case series and review of the literature.  View on PubMed
  7. Hyland CJ, Varghese F, Yau C, Beckwith H, Khoury K, Varnado W, Hirst GL, Flavell RR, Chien AJ, Yee D, Isaacs CJ, Forero-Torres A, Esserman LJ, Melisko ME Use of 18F-FDG PET/CT as an Initial Staging Procedure for Stage II-III Breast Cancer: A Multicenter Value Analysis.  View on PubMed
  8. Lawhn-Heath C, Yom SS, Liu C, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Aslam M, Smith R, Narwal M, Juarez R, Behr SC, Pampaloni MH, Chan JW, Glastonbury CM, Hope TA, Flavell RR Gallium-68 prostate-specific membrane antigen ([68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11) PET for imaging of thyroid cancer: a feasibility study.  View on PubMed
  9. Huang Y, Zhao N, Wang YH, Truillet C, Wei J, Parker MFL, Blecha JE, Drake CR, VanBrocklin HF, Ruiz DG, Jacobson MP, Aggarwal R, Behr SC, Flavell RR, Wilson DM, Seo Y, Evans MJ The synthesis and structural requirements for measuring glucocorticoid receptor expression in vivo with (±)-11C-YJH08 PET.  View on PubMed
  10. Murthy V, Smith RL, Tao DH, Lawhn-Heath CA, Korenchan DE, Larson PEZ, Flavell RR, Hope TA 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MRI: determining ideal acquisition times to reduce noise and increase image quality.  View on PubMed
  11. Wei J, Wang YH, Lee CY, Truillet C, Oh DY, Xu Y, Ruggero D, Flavell RR, VanBrocklin HF, Seo Y, Craik CS, Fong L, Wang CI, Evans MJ An Analysis of Isoclonal Antibody Formats Suggests a Role for Measuring PD-L1 with Low Molecular Weight PET Radiotracers.  View on PubMed
  12. Strohl MP, Ha PK, Flavell RR, Yom SS PET/CT in Surgical Planning for Head and Neck Cancer.  View on PubMed
  13. Polvoy I, Flavell RR, Rosenberg OS, Ohliger MA, Wilson DM Nuclear Imaging of Bacterial Infection: The State of the Art and Future Directions.  View on PubMed
  14. High Accuracy of PSMA PET in Initial Staging of High-Risk Prostate Cancer.  View on PubMed
  15. J. Ferdinandus, W.P. Fendler, J. Calais, M. Eiber, R.R. Flavell, A. Mishoe, F.Y. Feng, H.G. Nguyen, R.E. Reiter, M.B. Rettig, J. Gartmann, R. Smith, E.J. Small, R. Slavik, P.R. Carroll, K. Herrmann, J. Czernin, T.A. Hope 800 Impact of 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET on the management of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer in a prospective single-arm clinical trial.  View on PubMed
  16. Flavell RR, Evans MJ, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Yom SS Understanding Response to Immunotherapy Using Standard of Care and Experimental Imaging Approaches.  View on PubMed
  17. Parker MFL, Flavell RR, Luu JM, Rosenberg OS, Ohliger MA, Wilson DM Small Molecule Sensors Targeting the Bacterial Cell Wall.  View on PubMed
  18. Fendler WP, Ferdinandus J, Czernin J, Eiber M, Flavell RR, Behr SC, Wu IK, Lawhn-Heath C, Pampaloni MH, Reiter RE, Rettig MB, Gartmann J, Murthy V, Slavik R, Carroll PR, Herrmann K, Calais J, Hope TA Impact of 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET on the Management of Recurrent Prostate Cancer in a Prospective Single-Arm Clinical Trial.  View on PubMed
  19. Chiu LW, Lawhn-Heath C, Behr SC, Juarez R, Perez PM, Lobach I, Bucknor MD, Hope TA, Flavell RR Factors Predicting Metastatic Disease in 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET-Positive Osseous Lesions in Prostate Cancer.  View on PubMed
  20. Kalita M, Parker MFL, Luu JM, Stewart MN, Blecha JE, VanBrocklin HF, Evans MJ, Flavell RR, Rosenberg OS, Ohliger MA, Wilson DM Arabinofuranose-derived positron-emission tomography radiotracers for detection of pathogenic microorganisms.  View on PubMed

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