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Kiran Solingapuram Sai, PhD

Kiran Solingapuram Sai, PhD, develops positron-based radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and targeted disease treatment, with a specific focus on Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and atherosclerosis. He collaborates with industry partners nationwide to develop radioactive tracers that signal therapeutic efficacy, disease diagnosis and progression.

About Kiran Solingapuram Sai

Kiran Solingapuram Sai, PhD, earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Northern Illinois University. He was introduced to radiopharmaceutical development as a postdoctoral research associate and then as a staff scientist in the department of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine, where he developed several preclinical imaging agents to study brain tumors, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. He also worked closely with pharmaceutical partners to automate the immune-inflammatory tracer, [11C]PBR28. He joined the Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Radiology in 2014 to develop and lead the radiopharmaceutical production and radiochemistry service program.

A trained radiochemist, Solingapuram Sai develops and evaluates novel and routine positron-based radiopharmaceuticals and PET isotopes for various diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis. He currently directs radiochemistry services and cyclotron operations and also manages the micro-Positron Emission Tomography imaging facility at the Wake Forest School of Medicine Positron Emission Tomography Research Center.

Solingapuram Sai’s unique expertise in Alzheimer’s disease helped him automate and develop the Pittsburgh compound B [11C]PIB radiotracer for early detection and monitoring of the disease. His other clinical initiatives in this area focus on developing radiotracer agents to evaluate how diet affects brain function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, including studying [11C]Acetoacetate for the first time in North America.

He also uses Positron Emission Tomography imaging to evaluate radiopharmaceuticals in murine and nonhuman primate models, with current research focusing on the development of targeted radioactive compounds to evaluate glioblastoma and neuroblastoma treatment. His research group actively collaborates with several pharmaceutical companies to provide valuable preclinical data in animal models for their targeted drugs.

Early disease detection through therapeutic efficacy is the driving force behind Solingapuram Sai’s research efforts and collaborations with industry. With extensive Positron Emission Tomography imaging and good manufacturing practice (GMP) infrastructure in place, he has the capability to advance preclinical tracers to the clinical arena. He has widespread experience working with leading pharmaceutical companies to develop and test radioactive compounds, analyzing blood metabolites, drug biodistribution and pharmacokinetic properties.


Kiran Solingapuram Sai, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, directs radiochemistry services and cyclotron operations at Wake Forest School of Medicine and specializes in:

  • Radiopharmaceutical research and development
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nuclear medicine
  • PET imaging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Atherosclerosis