IASNM’s Chai with Scintillating Stars: Webcast Series #3 (Dr Alan Packard)

Today we were honored to have a chat with Dr. Alan Packard, the President of Society of Nuclear Medicine, and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He has an extensive list of achievements. To name a few, development of radionuclide generator for production of Iridium-191, Cu-64 based radiopharmaceuticals and F-18 Rhodamine B development. He was nominated for Clifford Badger excellence, a mentoring award in 2009 by Harvard Medical School. Since 1997, Dr. Alan is actively involved with SNMMI and under his guidance there has been much higher attendance in annual meetings. 

Welcoming him, Dr. Ishani asked a brief description of Dr. Alan’s journeys so far. He said he started in the field of science with interest in copper chemistry. He then went to University of Cincinnati in late 1970, where he was involved with technetium chemistry. Then he had an opportunity to work in Boston to develop Radionuclide generator. With his background in chemistry he went on with his work in copper and F-18 Rhodamine B development.

When asked about people who influenced Dr. Alan’s life, he replied that there has been many people along the way. He said he derives inspiration from his Professor who worked with Technetium-99m and considers him as his mentor. Also, the Dean of Faculty at Howard, still working at age 91, a scholar in medical research and truly inspirational. Talking about the ongoing pandemic, he stated that he is astonished to see how people have stepped up and managed to accomplish a lot this year. He is happy to give them the direction they deserve. Moving forward, Dr. Ishani asked about the challenges he faces as President of SNMMI. He remarked that the society is very supportive place for people who are engaged with leadership. He did mention that funding has been challenging during this period.

The idea of retaking his journey and whether he would change anything, made Dr. Alan smile. He said he comes from a small town of New Hampshire and he never anticipated being President of Society of Nuclear Medicine. ‘A lot goes on in the parallel universe, which could have turned out a bit differently’ he said. Speaking passionately about his hobbies, Dr. Alan said he loved skiing, especially in the stunning views of Vail, Colorado. Other hobbies include kayaking in summer and he enjoys nature. Getting back to the impact of Nuclear Medicine on his life, Dr. Alan replied that Nuclear Medicine is responsible for his entire career as a radiochemist and as a leader. It is very rewarding when ‘Nuclear Medicine’ does work; a bit frustrating when it does not. Nuclear medicine is pretty intriguing.

On the lighter note, he found Jimmy Page music incredibly powerful and impressive. If given a chance he would like to meet him in person. Talks continued towards the end of the session. What a great leadership with determination in this challenging time. His encouraging message to the younger generation ‘If something you love, just grab it. Work hard to be good at it, to get the success! Find your passion and rest will follow.’


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