Michael Phelps, formerly Norton Simon Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, has been on the faculty of the University of California since 1976. He is actively engaged in medical research, educational programs and Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT clinical service at UCLA. In addition to serving as the Departmental Chairman and holding an endowed professorship, he was also the Director of the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, and Professor of Biomathematics.
He has received numerous awards, among them, the 1992 Pasarow Foundation Award, the 1987 Rosenthal Foundation Award of the American College of Physicians, the George Von Hevesy Prize (won twice) from the Von Hevesy Foundation in Zurich (Von Hevesy won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry), the 1984 Sarah L. Poiley Memorial Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the 1984 Ernest O. Lawrence Award from DOE, the 1983 Paul Aebersold Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine, chaired the 1983 Nobel Symposium, Stockholm, elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985, Enrico Fermi Presidential Award, 1998, elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999, Keynote Address, 2007 Nobel Symposium, Stockholm, Sweden.
Dr. Phelps is the original inventor of the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner. PET is a molecular imaging technique that provides in vivo images of biological processes such as blood flow, metabolism, cell communication systems, DNA synthesis, gene expression and drug interactions. PET is used in research to study the biological basis of normal organ function and the biological basis of disease throughout the body. It is also routinely used throughout the world as a clinical service for molecular imaging diagnostics of the biology of disease, including in the early detection, characterization and evaluation of the therapeutic responses in cancer, immunological disorders, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.
He has published 720 peer-reviewed scientific articles and four textbooks.