Justin W. Hicks, PhD

Principle Investigator

I am a research scientist focusing on radiochemistry applications to improve access to leading edge molecular imaging tools to investigate pressing biomedical questions. I am a new investigator forming a stellar team of undergrads, graduate students, and post-docs who will develop or use their exceptional skills in bioorganic and radiochemistry. My education background includes a MSc in Tc-99m chemistry with John Valliant at McMaster University (2010) and a PhD with Alan Wilson and Neil Vasdev at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health/University of Toronto (2015) on PET tracer development for CNS enzymes. After 2015, I joined the Lawson cyclotron as a radiochemist to translate clinical PERS. After my first year, I was appointed as a Lawson Scientist and Assistant Professor at Western University in the department of Medical Biophysics. My research interest spans from basic radiochemistry method development to discovering new imaging agents. We dabble in DIY automation and are constantly improving our radiopharmaceutical production processes. Recently we've started exploring ways to improve access by rural communities to these unrivaled imaging methods.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Keller George, PhD (in collaboration with Dr. Michael S. Kovacs)

Dr. George joined in 2019 with an engineering background. She's applied her expertise to perfecting the production of Ga-68 on a solid target system (>1.4 GBq/μAh). Currently we are validating cyclotron produced Ga-68 as an alternative to generator sources.

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Current Students

Opportunities available for undergraduate volunteer research as part of course work or to gain some lab experience.

Past Students

Aditi Kukreja

Aditi performed a systematic literature review for her 4th year thesis. The topic was Tc-99m based radioligands targeting beta-amyloid aggregates and a why a successful SPECT radiotracer for this area would improve access to dementia imaging in rural communities.

Alexander Gillies

4th year thesis - FABP3 Radioligand synthesis

Farah Kamar

3rd year lab placement - automated N-13 ammonia purification

Kichi Choi

3rd year lab placement - BBB penetration predicted by TLC