Cancer Molecular Imaging, Nanotechnology and Theranostics Program


Dr. Caius Radu Dr. Jeffrey Zink

Johannes Czernin, M.D.
Contact via email

Caius Radu, Ph.D.
Contact via email

Jeffrey Zink, Ph.D.
Contact via email


The Cancer Molecular Imaging, Nanotechnology, and Theranostics (CMINT) research program advances translational imaging, nanoparticle design and delivery, and theranostics to improve cancer patient outcomes and moves discoveries from preclinical and clinical applications. The research program is highly interactive and transdisciplinary, and brings together 45 faculty members from four UCLA schools and partner institution Caltech, representing 16 basic and clinical departments. Its members have diverse and complementary expertise in an extensive range of disciplines including biology, nuclear medicine, physics, nanotechnology, urology, radiology, radiation oncology, drug development, engineering, image reconstruction, chemistry, radiochemistry and animal models of disease.


The four specific aims of the CMINT research program are:

  • Development of instrumentation, analytical tools, and novel molecular imaging approaches
  • Imaging immune responses and responses to immunotherapy
  • Nanotechnology-based imaging and therapeutic delivery systems
  • Translation of diagnostic and theranostics approaches into the clinic

Meetings and events

  • Participation in the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center seminar series that features invited outside and local faculty
  • Weekly research program meeting
  • Quarterly presentations featuring SOMI (Scholars in Oncologic Molecular Imaging) postdoctoral fellows and faculty discussions
  • Seminar series with external speakers (in collaboration with Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging and California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA)
  • Quarterly research program scientific exchange dinners
  • Semi-annual, inter-programmatic symposia on nanotechnology in cancer


Director Dr. Johannes Czernin is Professor and Vice Chair of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. Czernin serves as Chief of the Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division (ATID), that includes the UCLA nuclear medicine clinical service, the biomedical cyclotron operation, a preclinical imaging center, a cancer biology and drug development group (Radu) as well as a radiochemistry group. He has more than 25 years of experience in molecular imaging, and held national and international leadership positions including president of the Academy of Molecular Imaging). He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. He is a co-founder of Sofie Biosciences Inc. and Trethera Therapeutics, UCLA spin-offs that translate technology and targeted drugs to the market. Czernin has established a translational research program that links laboratory studies of cellular uptake of radioactive metabolites or ligands, preclinical evaluation of specific molecular imaging probes in small animals, and clinical evaluation of new radiotracers for molecular imaging of cancer patients. He also recently established a successful translational theranostics program. His strength is in translating preclinical research into clinical applications, and he has designed and conducted numerous past and ongoing clinical trials.

Co-director Dr. Caius Radu is Professor and Vice-Chair of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. He serves as associate director of ATID and heads their cancer biology and drug development groups. His work elucidates therapy resistance mechanisms in cancer and identifies cancer liabilities that can be exploited using pharmacologic and genetic approaches. Radu embeds diagnostics and therapeutics in tumor biology resulting in identification and pharmacologic targeting of cancer liabilities. He closely collaborates with Czernin to define unmet clinical needs that are addressed from the cellular to the small animal and finally to the clinical level. He has established a successful drug development program and uses imaging probes as predictive biomarkers for treatment response. Radu is also a co-founder of Sofie Biosciences Inc. and Trethera Therapeutics.

Co-director Dr. Jeffrey Zink is a Distinguished Professor in the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is a pioneer of multifunctional mechanized nanoparticle synthesis and biomedical applications, and with his collaborators, create particles that are biocompatible and deliver hydrophobic drugs and siRNA into cells and tumors in vivo. His studies brought worldwide attention to the therapeutic properties of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) as drug delivery systems. Additional collaborations have proudced a creative method to modify the vasculature for improved drug delivery in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the engineering of siRNA-loaded nanoparticles to inhibit TWIST protein and block the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast and ovarian cancers, and the development of novel nanoparticle-based magnetic resonance image guided therapy.

Upcoming events

The following list is for upcoming events and seminars of notable interest to the Cancer Molecular Imaging, Nanotechnology and Theranostics Program and its members. This calendar is updated automatically.

For a list of all upcoming JCCC events (including other research programs, patients and survivors, and the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation), please visit the Events Calendar.

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center 2nd Annual All Center Retreat


We are excited to announce the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 2nd Annual All Center Retreat! The all-day event will take place at the Luskin Conference Center on May 5, 2022.

Online registration has closed. But there's still time! You can register via email until April 28. Please contact Juliana Ryan at

All attendees are subject to Los Angeles County Health Department and UCLA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Requirements for entrance to the Retreat include providing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event at check-in, completion of the UCLA Daily Symptom Monitoring Survey, and adherence to all masking guidelines (currently universal masking required for all indoor events regardless of vaccination status). For all the current campus COVID-19 guidelines, please visit UCLA's COVID-19 website.

We look forward to seeing you at the Retreat!



Registration, Lobby & Exhibit Hall Open
Breakfast served in Centennial Hall Pre-Function Area


Welcome & Opening Remarks

Michael Teitell, MD, PhD
Professor & Latta Endowed Chair in Pathology
Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive
President, UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation

Johnese Spisso, RN, MPA
President, UCLA Health
CEO, UCLA Hospital System
Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences

Steven M. Dubinett, MD
Interim Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UCLA

Session I


New Technologies for the Study & Treatment of Cancer

Robert Prins, PhD (Session Moderator)
Professor, Neurosurgery

"Using an Organoid Transplantation Model of Glioblastoma to Characterize Cell Fate"
Aparna Bhaduri, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biological Chemistry

"Multidimensional Characterization of the Tumor Immune Microenvironment"
Willy Hugo, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Dermatology

"Synthetic IL9R Signaling for Adoptive T Cell Therapy of Cancer"
Anusha Kalbasi, MD
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology

"UCLA Molecular Radio-Theranostic Program: From Clinical Research to the Outpatient Therapy Center"
Jeremie Calais, MD
Associate Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology\


Poster Viewing & Networking

Session II


Advancing Equity Across the JCCC: Workforce, Research, Clinical Care and Community Engagement Initiatives

"Cancer Disparities in Los Angeles: Gaps, Challenges and Opportunities" and "Increasing Enrollment of Diverse Populations in JCCC Clinical Trials"
Beth Glenn, PhD (Session Moderator)
Professor, Health Policy and Management
Fielding School of Public Health
Co-Director, Disparities, Community Outreach and Engagement
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Director, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity

"Why Workforce Diversity is Important: Examples of Ongoing Efforts at UCLA Health"
Medell Briggs-Malonson, MD, MPH, MSHS
Chief, Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
UCLA Health
Associate Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine

"Reducing Disparities in Lung Cancer Screening in Los Angeles"

Ashley Prosper, MD
Assistant Professor, Radiological Sciences
Fielding School of Public Health

"Enhancing Health Equity through Community Engagement"
Alison Herrmann, PhD
Research Scientist, Health Policy and Management
Fielding School of Public Health


Keynote Speaker

"Factors Influencing Cancer Disparities: Toward Achieving Cancer Health Equity"
John D. Carpten, PhD
Professor & Chair
Department of Translational GenomicsRoyce & Mary Trotter Chair in Cancer Research
Professor, Department of Urology
Associate Director of Basic Sciences
Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California


Lunch & Networking
Luskin Center Terrace

Session III


Therapeutic Applications & Agents

Michael E. Jung, PhD (Session Moderator)
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry

"Development of an Androgen Receptor Degrader Targeting the N-Terminus"
Matthew Rettig, MD
Professor, Medicine and Urology

"UCLA Neuro-Oncology Drug Discovery and Development Program"
Diana Marquez-Garban, MD
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology-Oncology

"Development of New Antiestrogens for Breast Cancer Treatment in Combination with Immunotherapy"
David Nathanson, PhD
Associate Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology


Poster Viewing & Networking

Session IV


Enabling Technologies & Resources

Manish Butte, MD, PhD (Session Moderator)
Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Allergy/Immunology

"Using Avian CAM Models to Generate New PDXs to Study Cancer Metastasis and Therapeutics"
Lily Wu, MD, PhD
Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology\

"Enabling Data-Driven Research and AI Using UCLA’s Electronic Health Records"
Alex Bui, PhD
Professor, Radiological Sciences

"How Can the Cancer Registry Help You in Conducting Your Research?"
Patricia A. Ganz, MD
Professor, Health Policy & Management
Fielding School of Public Health
David Geffen School of Medicine

"Technologies of Single Cell and Spatial Transcriptomics Available at the Cancer Center’s Genomics Shared Resource"
Xinmin Li, PhD
Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine


Closing Remarks

Michael Teitell, MD, PhD
Professor & Latta Endowed Chair in Pathology
Director, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive
President, UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation


Post-Retreat Reception
Appetizers and Drinks in Centennial Hall Pre-Function Area


Retreat Concludes

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