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Section Chief

Robert B. Innis, M.D., Ph.D.

Molecular Imaging Branch, NIMH
Building 10 Room B1D43
Bldg. 10, Room. B1D43 MSC 1026
Bethesda MD 20892-1026
Office: (301) 594-1368
Lab: (301) 594-1089
Fax: (301) 480-3610

Dr. Innis received his B.S. degree from Yale University in 1974 and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1978. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in neuropharmacology from Johns Hopkins in 1981 under the mentorship of Solomon Snyder. After completing a residency in psychiatry at Yale University in 1984, he joined their faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology. Dr. Innis left Yale in 2001 to become Chief of a new laboratory at NIMH with an emphasis on brain imaging using PET (positron emission tomography). Expanded state-of-the-art facilities for both radiochemistry and PET imaging at NIH provide unique opportunities for the application of this radiotracer method to patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. The overall goals of Dr. Innis's laboratory are to develop new radiotracers that image molecular targets in the brain, to evaluate these tracers in animals and healthy human subjects, and then to extend their use to patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.

My laboratory develops and uses positron emission tomographic (PET) radioligands to study pathophysiology in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Working in close collaboration with the radiochemistry laboratory of Dr. Victor Pike, we use in vivo imaging to evaluate novel PET radioligands, first in animals, then in healthy human subjects, and finally in patients. My laboratory has multidisciplinary expertise in pharmacology, animal experimentation, clinical neuroscience, digital image analysis, and human evaluation of investigational radiopharmaceuticals. In addition to traditional receptor targets, we use radiolabeled probes for in vivo imaging of intracellular signal transduction, gene expression, and a mitochondrial protein that is a marker for inflammatory cells (activated microglia and macrophages).

In the lab, imaging is performed in primates and rodents to assess the utility of new probes and to explore models of human pathophysiology. About one-third of our PET scans are performed in animals and two-thirds are performed in humans. Our research includes "first-in-human" use of several novel PET radioligands. Dr. Pike, Director of Radiochemistry, is now operational in NIH’s new commercial-level (cGMP) laboratory, which allows his old lab to be used for radiochemistry development and animal studies. With these expanded facilities, we are working on several targets in animals and/or humans, including translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) imaged with the novel radioligand 11C-ER176, cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), COX-2, OGlcNAcase (an enzyme involved in the clearance of tau protein from brain), amyloid, tau protein, phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), PDE4D, and SV2A (a marker of synaptic density). To learn about some of our current research studies, please see Current Research.

Staff Image
  • Elizabeth Alzona
    Administrative Branch Manager
    (301) 594-1089

  • Lora Deuitch, M.S.
    Pre-doctoral IRTA

  • Maria Ferraris Araneta, C-RNP
    Nurse Practitioner
    (301) 496-9423

  • Michael Frankland, B.S.
    Postbaccalaureate IRTA

  • Masahiro Fujita, M.D., Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist
    (301) 451-8898

  • Evan Gallagher, B.S.
    Postbaccalaureate IRTA

  • Holly Giesen
    (301) 435-8982

  • Robert Gladding, CNMT
    Research PET Technologist
    (301) 594-1432

  • Katherine Henry, B.S.
    Postbaccalaureate IRTA

  • Ioline Henter, M.A.

  • Min-Jeong Kim, M.D., Ph.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Jeih-San Liow, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist

  • Soumen Paul, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Denise Rallis-Frutos
    Doctor of Nursing Practice

  • Jose Montero Santamaria, M.S.
    Analytical Chemist

  • Stal Shrestha, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Sami Zoghbi, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist

  • 1) Fujita M, Richards EM, Niciu MJ, Ionescu DF, Zoghbi SS, Hong J, Telu S, Hines CS, Pike VW, Zarate CA, Innis RB (2017)
  • cAMP signaling in brain is decreased in unmedicated depressed patients and increased by treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • Mol Psychiatry, 22(5), 754-759
  • 2) Ikawa M, Lohith TG, Shrestha S, Telu S, Zoghbi SS, Castellano S, Taliani S, Da Settimo F, Fujita M, Pike VW, Innis RB, Biomarkers Consortium Radioligand Project Team (2017)
  • 11C-ER176, a Radioligand for 18-kDa Translocator Protein, Has Adequate Sensitivity to Robustly Image All Three Affinity Genotypes in Human Brain
  • J Nucl Med, 58(2), 320-325
  • 3) Kreisl WC, Lyoo CH, Liow JS, Wei M, Snow J, Page E, Jenko KJ, Morse CL, Zoghbi SS, Pike VW, Turner RS, Innis RB (2016)
  • (11)C-PBR28 binding to translocator protein increases with progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Neurobiol Aging, 44, 53-61
  • 4) W.C Kreisl, R. Bhatia, C.L. Morse, A.E. Woock, S.S. Zoghbi, H.U. Shetty, V.W. Pike, R.B. Innis (2015)
  • Increased permeability-glycoprotein inhibition at the human blood-brain barrier can be safely achieved by performing PET during peak plasma concentrations of tariquidar
  • J Nucl Med , 56, 82-7
  • 5) S. Shrestha, E.E. Nelson, J.-S. Liow, R. Gladding, C.H. Lyoo, P.L. Noble, C. Morse, I.D. Henter, J. Kruger, B. Zhang, S.J. Suomi, P. Svenningsson, V.W. Pike, J.T. Winslow, E. Leibenluft, D.S. Pine, and R.B Innis. (2014)
  • Fluoxetine administered to juvenile monkeys: effects on the serotonin transporter and behavior.
  • Am. J. Psychiatry, 171, 323-331
  • 6) P. Zanotti-Fregonara, Y. Zhang, K.J. Jenko, R.L. Gladding, S.S. Zoghbi, M. Fujita, G. Sbardella, S. Castellano, S. Taliani, C. Martini, R.B. Innis, F. Da Settimo, and V.W. Pike. (2014)
  • Synthesis and evaluation of translocator 18kDa protein (TSPO) positron emission tomography (PET) radioligands with low binding sensitivity to human single nucleotide polymorphism rs6971.
  • ACS Chem Neurosci, 5, 963-971
  • 7) P. Zanotti-Fregonara, A.A. Lammertsma, and R.B. Innis. (2013)
  • Suggested pathway to assess radiation safety of 18F-labeled PET tracers for first-in-human studies.
  • Eur. J. Nucl. Med. Mol. Imaging, 40, 1781-1783
  • 8) W.C. Kreisl, C.H. Lyoo, M. McGwier, J. Snow, K.J. Jenko, N. Kimura, W. Corona, C.L. Morse, S.S. Zoghbi, V.W. Pike, F.J. McMahon, R.S. Turner, R.B. Innis, and the Biomarkers Consortium PET Radioligand Project Team. (2013)
  • In vivo radioligand binding to translocator protein correlates with severity of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Brain, 136, 2228-2238
  • 9) W.C. Kreisl, K.J. Jenko, C.S. Hines, C.H. Lyoo, W. Corona, C.L. Morse, S.S. Zoghbi, T. Hyde, J.E. Kleinman, V.W. Pike, F.J. McMahon, and R.B. Innis. (2013)
  • A genetic polymorphism for translocator protein 18 kDa affects both in vitro and in vivo radioligand binding in human brain to this putative biomarker of neuroinflammation.
  • J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab, 33, 53-58
  • 10) J. Hirvonen, R.S. Goodwin, C.-T. Li, G.E. Terry, S.S. Zoghbi, C. Morse, V.W. Pike, N.D. Volkow, M.A. Huestis, and R.B. Innis. (2012)
  • Reversible and regionally selective downregulation of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptors in heavy cannabis users.
  • Mol. Psychiatry, 17, 642-649
  • 11) M. Fujita, C.S. Hines, S.S. Zoghbi, A.G. Mallinger, L.P. Dickstein, J.-S. Liow, Y. Zhang, V.W. Pike, W.C. Drevets, R.B. Innis, and C.A. Zarate Jr. (2012)
  • Downregulation of brain phosphodiesterase type IV measured with 11C-(R)-rolipram positron emission tomography in major depressive disorder.
  • Biol. Psych, 72, 548-554
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