Principal Investigator

Daniel LJ Thorek: Associate Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering

My primary research interest is translational drug development of innovative therapeutic and diagnostic agents for precision medicine. This is exemplified by quantitative imaging tools that guide therapy from the microscope, to mice, and to man. I received my B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. My initial faculty appointment was at Johns Hopkins University following the R25T Research Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The Thorek Lab consists of scientist experts in the fields of chemistry, biology, clinical radiology, and medical physics working with a global network of exceptional collaborators.


Diane S. Abou: Assistant Professor of Radiology

The focus of my research is to understand fundamental properties of alpha particle emitting therapies currently used to treat bone metastatic cancer. My work seeks to improve production, localization and efficacy of these therapies, and to reduce off-target effects. I am also a member of the Cyclotron Facility. I have a Masters in Organic Chemistry from University Paris-Sud Orsay and received my doctorate at TUDelft in the Netherlands in Applied Science.

Hanwen Zhang: Assistant Professor of Radiology

I am interested in radiochemistry methods and agents development for targeted imaging and therapy, with a focus on pediatric oncology. My work has resulted in several first in human imaging trials, and clinical translation is a central goal of my laboratory efforts. I have a Ph.D. in Radiopharmaceuticals from University of Basel, Switzerland and was a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Scholars and Students

Nadia Benadballah: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Benabdallah received her Ph.D. in Medical Physics in 2017 from Paris Saclay University in France. She joined the Thorek lab in January 2019. She focuses on dosimetry in alpha particle therapy through microscopic and macroscopic imaging approaches.

Wen Jiang: Graduate Student
Wen graduated from Southeast University of China in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree. She is currently a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the study of biological effects of alpha particle radiation on prostate cancer cells.

Peng Lu: Graduate Student
Peng obtained his master’s degree in 2018 and bachelor’s degree in 2015, both in electrical engineering and from Tianjin University, China. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Imaging Science at Washington University in St. Louis and has been working in the lab since November, 2018. His research interest is medical image analysis (e.g. histological image, autoradiography and imaging mass cytometry).

Abbie Hasson: Graduate Student
Abbie graduated from Cornell University in 2020 with a degree in chemical engineering. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St Louis and has been working in the lab since October 2020.

Research Staff

Amanda Fears: Research Lab Supervisor
Amanda received her B.S. in animal science from University of Missouri-Columbia and joined the lab after working as an animal husbandry supervisor for D.C.M. for 8 years. She is responsible for the colony animal care & maintenance along with providing support for the research studies in the lab, including molecular imaging, tumor implantation and bio-distribution data collection.

Lucy Summer: Research Technician
Lucy graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2020 with a B.A. in chemistry and a minor in computer science. She joined the lab in September of 2020, and assists in the collection of biodistribution data, as well as with animal imaging, tumor injections, and cell culture.

Norman F. Turtle
Norman was hatched in 2000 and University of Maryland is his alma mater. He continues to be a strong supporter of the UofM Terrapins.

Ryan Unnerstall: Research Technician
Ryan is a research technician. He is a degreed chemist from Truman State University. The areas of focus in the laboratory are on animal research, radiochemistry, staining techniques, and ICP-MS.


The Thorek Research Laboratory is currently accepting graduate students from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Postdoctoral scholars interested in opportunities for research in the laboratory are encouraged to reach out with a CV.