with Dr. David Townsend


Episode 4 | recorded May 29, 2020


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Radiation in Space. An in-depth look at MIRD. What is radiation safety and why is it important? Every month, Versant Physics’ host Dr. Eric Ramsay converses with leading experts in the healthcare, medical and health physics, and radiation safety fields. We dive into the important topics that make up our industry’s current culture and showcase the impact the field has on the world. We hope that these conversations will inform, inspire, and educate our listeners.

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Dr. David Townsend

David W. Townsend obtained his B.Sc in Physics and his Ph.D. in Particle Physics and was a staff member for eight years at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1980, Dr Townsend joined the faculty of Geneva University Hospital. In 1993, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh as an Associate Professor of Radiology and Senior PET Physicist. He was Co-Director of the Pittsburgh PET Facility from 1996-2002, and became Professor of Radiology in 2000.

The PET/CT scanner, developed by Dr Townsend and Dr Ronald Nutt, was named by TIME Magazine as the medical invention of the year 2000. Dr Townsend received the 2004 Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Academy of Molecular Imaging, and the 2008 Austrian Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE. He shared with Dr Ronald Nutt the 2010 IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology. From 2003 to 2009, Dr Townsend was Director of the Molecular Imaging and Translational Research Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In July 2009, he became Head of PET and SPECT Development for the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Professor of Radiology at the National University of Singapore and was appointed Director of the A*STAR-NUS Clinical Imaging Research Centre in December 2010, a position from which he retired in 2018.

He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, France and the University of Bristol in the UK. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists in London. Dr Townsend has co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, is a reviewer for a number of scientific journals and has served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. More recently, he received the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and the Edward J Hoffman Medical Imaging Scientist Award from the IEEE NSS-MIC and shared the Rotblat Medal for co-authoring the 2016 most-cited paper in Physics in Medicine and Biology.