Richard Carson, PhD

Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Biomedical Engineering; Director, Yale PET Center; Director of Graduate Studies, Biomedical Engineering

Departments & Organizations

Radiology & Biomedical Imaging: Bioimaging Sciences: Positron Emission Tomography (PET): PET Radioligand Development for Mental Health (PRDMH)

Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC)

Dean's Workshops

Diabetes Research Center

Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP)

Stress & Addiction Clinical Research Program

Yale Cancer Center: Radiobiology & Radiotherapy

Office of Cooperative Research


Richard E. Carson received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1983 in Biomathematics. From that time on, he has focused his research on the development and application of mathematical techniques for the study of human beings and non-human primates with Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a noninvasive imaging technology that uses radiopharmaceuticals to trace in vivo physiology and pharmacology. From 1983 until 2005, Dr. Carson was an integral part of the PET program at the National Institutes of Health, rising to the rank of Senior Scientist. In 2005, Dr. Carson joined the faculty of Yale University as Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Diagnostic Radiology. He is Director of the Yale PET Center, a state-of-the-art facility focused on quantitative PET techniques using novel radiopharmaceuticals. Dr. Carson is also Director of Graduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Carson’s research interests are concentrated in the following areas: 1) New algorithms for image reconstruction with PET, 2) Development of mathematical models for novel radiopharmaceuticals to produce images of physiological parameters, 3) Use of receptor-binding ligands to measure drug occupancy and dynamic changes in neurotransmitters by analysis of PET tracer signals, and 4) applications of PET tracers in clinical populations and preclinical models of disease. Dr. Carson has published over 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals, given over 150 invited lectures and is a member of the editorial board of two of the leading journals in the field of brain PET, the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, and the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. Dr. Carson was awarded the Kuhl-Lassen award from the Brain Imaging Council of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in 2007. He became a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2008 and was awarded the Sheffield Distinguished Teaching Award from the Yale School of Engineering. In 2009, he was named the winner of the Ed Hoffman Memorial Award from the Computer and Instrumentation Council of the Society of Nuclear Medicine. In 2010, Dr. Carson was named as a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. In 2016, Dr. Carson was given the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Academy of Radiology Research.  In 2017, Dr. Carson received  the Edward J. Hoffman Medical Imaging Scientist Award from the IEEE. In 2018, Dr. Carson gave the Henry N. Wagner Jr. Lectureship at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging annual meeting in Philadelphia. In 2019, Dr. Carson was named as a Fellow of the IEEE.

For complete list of publications, please click here

Education & Training

PhD University of California at Los Angeles (1983)
BS Brown University, Applied Math-Biology (1977)

Honors & Recognition

  • Henry Wagner LectursehipSociety of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (2018)

  • Edward J. Hoffman Medical Imaging Scientist AwardIEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (2017)

  • Distinguished Investigator AwardAcademy of Radiology Research (2016)

  • MemberConnecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (2010)

  • Edward J Hoffman AwardSociety of Nuclear Medicine (2009)

  • 25 Most Influential in RadiologyRT-Image (2009)

  • Sheffield Distinguished Teaching AwardYale University School of Engineering and Applied Science (2008)

  • Member, College of FellowsAmerican Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2008)

  • Kuhl-Lassen AwardSociety of Nuclear Medicine (2007)

Professional Service

  • Advancement Committee for Engineering (2016 - 2017)

  • Physical and Biological Sciences Degree Committee (2012 - 2015)

  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (2010 - 2011) Member

  • Biomedical Engineering (2009 - Present)

  • Term Appointments and Promotions Committee (2006 - 2009) Member

  • Radiation Safety Committee (2005 - 2013) Member

  • Journal of Nuclear Medicine Editorial Board (2004 - Present)

  • Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism Editorial Board (1993 - Present)


  • PET-RTRC External Advisory Board St. Louis, United States (2018)

    NIBIB Biomedical Technology Resource Center (P41), “PET Radiotracer Translation and Resource Center” External Advisory Board-Member

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf Dresden, Germany (2017 - 2017)

    Scientific review panel

  • Dementias Platform UK MR-PET scientific advisory board Manchester, United Kingdom (2016)

  • EPSRC Centre for Mathematical and Statistical Analysis of Multimodal Clinical Imaging Cambridge, United Kingdom (2015)

    Scientific Advisory Board

  • NUS CIRC Scientific Advisory Board Singapore, Singapore (2012 - 2018)

    Member, Scientific Advisory Board, National University of Singapore Clinical Imaging Research Centre

  • EURIPIDES London, United Kingdom (2008 - 2011)

    Member of scientific advisory board for European Research initiative to develop Imaging Probes for early In-vivo Diagnosis and Evaluation of response to therapeutic Substances

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Contact Info

Richard Carson, PhD
Mailing Address
Radiology & Biomedical ImagingPO Box 208048
15 York Street

New Haven, CT 06520-8048

Yale PET Center

Research Image 1

Our work on synaptic density imaging was published in Science Translational Medicine on July 20, 2016

Research Image 2

Collage of PET images from the Yale PET Center

Research Image 3

Human PET brain images with 10 different tracers