Michel (Michael) Ter-Pogossian (1925 - June 19, 1996) was an American physicist who is one of the fathers of positron emission tomography (PET)[1], the first functional brain imaging technology. PET could effectively be used to evaluate what areas of the brain were active during various mental processes versus looking at the structure of the brain through conventional CT.

Dr. Ter-Pogossian was born in France and is of Armenian descent. He later emigrated to the United States where he was a faculty member at the Washington University School of Medicine. He was married and had three grown children and five grandchildren. PET Scanning is one of the most promising techniques for cancer detection and has applications in monitoring heart disease.The development of new radioligands may allow more uses of positron emission tomography for other areas in medicine.

The technique uses the injection of ultrashort acting radioactive substances commonly bound to water or deoxyglucose. The deoxyglucose method directly measures brain metabolism whereas the radioactively labeled water is effective at measuring brain blood flow.


1. ^ Ter-Pogossian, M.M.; M.E. Phelps, E.J. Hoffman (1975). "A positron-emission transaxial tomograph for nuclear imaging (PETT)". Radiology, v. 114, no. 1, pp. 89-98.


* Washington University Record: PET pioneer dies at age 71

* pet_mail: Passing of M. M. Ter Pogossian

* Obituary at IEEE (pdf)

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