Department of Nuclear Medicine

San Raffaele Hospital IRCCS 

IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, part of Gruppo Ospedaliero San Donato, is a research and university hospital based in Milan (Italy). It was first recognized by the Italian Ministry of Health as a research hospital (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, IRCCS) in 1972 and it was extended to the field of molecular medicine in 2001.

The molecular imaging group integrates cutting-edge, multi-modality imaging into basic, translational, and clinical research. The research activity is centered on the use of PET imaging for the study of pathogenesis and monitoring of different disease, mainly oncological and neurodegenerative, and on the integration of information derived with other modalities (e.g.: PET/CT and PET/MR).

Our clinical research activity is particularly focused on the use of integrated molecular imaging modalities, PET/CT and the very innovative fully hybrid PET/MRI system, with the use of different PET radiopharmaceuticals, for in vivo studies in different diseases. The main fields of clinical research include: the use of molecular imaging modalities for the evaluation of cancer patients, for risk stratification and monitoring response to therapy; the clinical and the predictive/prognostic impact of integrated molecular imaging modalities in neoplasms; the development of innovative PET tracer for a deep knowledge of cancer disease. Overall aim of the research is the set-up of new non-invasive diagnostic imaging methods to be transferred in clinical practice for the optimization of diagnosis, prognosis and therapy in oncology.

Role in the project

Brain imaging: activation of immune system, blood flow/angiogenesis function in the brain.

Dr. Maria Picchio

Associate Professor

Maria is the Head of the Molecular imaging Unit, Clinical Research Unit of the Experimental Imaging Centre, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Associate Professor of Nuclear Medicine at the School of Medicine of Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy and Associate Senior Researcher, National Research Council (CNR) (IBFM-CNR). Medical degree in 1995 and Nuclear Medicine post graduated residency program in 1999. Member of the medical staff of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, between 2000 and 2003 and Medical Researcher, in the same Institution, between 2004 and 2017. From 2003 to 2004 Research Fellow at the Nuclear Medicine Department, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität Munchen, Munich, Germany. In 2015 Visiting Scholar, Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine (CA, USA). From 2013 to 2018 National Delegate of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM). Author of more than 150 international peer-reviewed papers (h-index: 43, source Scopus), 10 book chapters. Several national and international awards and responsibility of several peer reviewed funded research grants.

Dr. Rosa Maria Moresco

Full Professor, Head of Preclinical PET facility

Rosa Maria is the responsible of Preclinical Imaging Laboratory at San Raffaele Scientific Institute and Professor of University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. She is graduated in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies and Specialist in Pharmacology. She work in the field on I vivo Molecular Neuroimaging since 1990. She is member of the European Society for Molecular Imaging. She published more than 110 paper in peer reviewed Journals on topic mainly related to radiopharmaceutical development and application to brain disorders.

Dr. Luca Presotto 

Researcher & Physicist

Luca is an experienced researcher who obtained his PhD in physics, with a thesis on PET quantification, in 2013 at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Since then, he has been working as a researcher in medical imaging, with a focus on nuclear medicine quantification. His expertise includes both setting up scanners and imaging protocols, and image analysis. He has previously worked at the national research council (CNR) and in a neuroscience group at “Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele”, where he collaborated with San Raffaele hospital nuclear medicine.

Sara Belloli, PhD

Sara is a researcher at Institute of Bioimaging and Physiology (IBFM) of National Research Council (CNR) since 2013. Graduated in Biotechnology in 2001 and obtained the PhD in Biomedical Technologies in 2007 at the University of Milano-Bicocca, she work in the Nuclear Medicine Unit of San Raffaele Scientific Institute on PET and animal models of disease. Her expertise includes the generation of ad hoc models of neurodegeneration and tumor, and the use of preclinical imaging in nuclear medicine to validate new radiopharmaceuticals and test new treatment protocols.

Valentino Bettinardi, MSc

Valentino is an experienced researcher at IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital where he started in 1984. Graduated in Physics at University of the studies of Milan in 1984. From 1984 to 1988 fellow researcher at the Institute San Raffaele del Monte Tabor working on SPECT methodologies. Young visiting researcher at the Turku PET center ( Finland ) in 1988-1989 where he started his experience in Nuclear Medicine with particular reference to PET technology. Since then he has worked on research studies (cardiology, neurology and oncology) for the use and development of technique and methodologies for PET , SPECT, hybrid integrated PET/CT and more recently also hybrid integrated PET/MR systems.

Paola Scifo, PhD

Paola is an experienced researcher working at IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital since 1995. He graduated in Electronic Engineering at Politecnico of Milan and obtained her PhD in Biomedical Technologies at University of Milano-Bicocca. She won a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship in 2002 visiting the Service Hospitalier Frederic Joliot in Orsay, France with a project on Diffusion Tensor Imaging in brain studies. Her experience includes most of the advanced Magnetic Resonance techniques  such as fMRI, DTI, MR Spectroscopy, DCE, etc. both for the development of acquisition protocols and for the processing and the analysis of MR Data.

Valeria Masiello, PhD

Valeria is a pharmacist at San Raffaele Hospital since 2015. Graduated in chemistry and pharmaceutical technology in 2004 and obtained the PhD in Biomedical Technologies in 2007 at the University of Milano-Bicocca, she works as radiopharmacist in the laboratory of PET radiopharmacy inside the Nuclear Medicine Unit of San Raffaele Scientific Institute. She is responsible for quality control of PET radiopharmaceutical compounds; her expertise includes knowledge of GMP regulation, and validation of analytical methods.

Marco Bacigaluppi, MD

Marco Bacigaluppi is currently researcher at the Neuroimmunology Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology at the University Vita- Salute San Raffaele in Milan. Marco is working as clinician in the Stroke Unit and as staff researcher on ischemic stroke. His main focus is understanding repair mechanism in cerebral ischemia and in particular the role of inflammation in stroke of the elderly. Marco also started at San Raffaele Hospital a study group on cerebral thrombi of acute stroke patients and leukocyte subsets to deepen knowledge in human stroke related inflammatory mechanisms.

Antonella Castellano, MD, PhD

Antonella Castellano is a neuroradiologist at San Raffaele Hospital and Assistant Professor of Neuroradiology at the School of Medicine of Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy. From 2014 to 2015 Associate Research Fellow at the Department of Neurology and Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco (CA, USA). She is an experienced researcher with a strong interest in the development, clinical implementation and validation of advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, such as diffusion MRI (dMRI), MR tractography and perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) in the characterization of normal and pathological brain conditions.


Nicoletta Anzalone, MD

Nicoletta Anzalone is a neuroradiologist at San Raffaele Hospital Hospital and Associate Professor of Neuroradiology at Vita e Salute University of Milan. She is dedicated to Clinical Neuroradiology and her main area of expertise, teaching and clinical research are: cerebrovascular disease, MR techniques in vascular field  (MR angiography, Perfusion) and MR Contrast Agents.

List of relevant publications


1) Murtaj V, Belloli S, Di Grigoli G, Pannese M, Ballarini E, Rodriguez-Menendez V, Marmiroli P, Cappelli A, Masiello V, Monterisi C, Bellelli G, Panina-Bordignon P, Moresco RM. Age and Sex Influence the Neuro-inflammatory Response to a Peripheral Acute LPS Challenge. Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 Nov 5;11:299. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00299. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31749696; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6848890.

2) Musazzi L, Sala N, Tornese P, Gallivanone F, Belloli S, Conte A, Di Grigoli G, Chen F, Ikinci A, Treccani G, Bazzini C, Castiglioni I, Nyengaard JR, Wegener G, Moresco RM, Popoli M. Acute Inescapable Stress Rapidly Increases Synaptic Energy Metabolism in Prefrontal Cortex and Alters Working Memory Performance. 2019 Dec 17;29(12):4948-4957. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhz034. PubMed PMID: 30877789.


3) Belloli S, Zanotti L, Murtaj V, Mazzon C, Di Grigoli G, Monterisi C, Masiello V, Iaccarino L, Cappelli A, Poliani PL, Politi LS, Moresco RM. (18)F-VC701-PET and MRI in the in vivo neuroinflammation assessment of a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. J Neuroinflammation. 2018 Feb 5;15(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s12974-017-1044-x. PubMed PMID: 29402285; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5800080.


4) Belloli S, Pannese M, Buonsanti C, Maiorino C, Di Grigoli G, Carpinelli A, Monterisi C, Moresco RM, Panina-Bordignon P. Early upregulation of 18-kDa translocator protein in response to acute neurodegenerative damage in TREM2-deficient mice. Neurobiol Aging. 2017 May; 53:159-168. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.01.010. Epub 2017 Jan 17. PubMed PMID: 28189343.


5) Mapelli P, Picchio M. Int J Biol Markers. 2020 Feb; 35(1_suppl):42-46. doi: 10.1177/1724600820905715. 18F-FAZA PET imaging in tumor hypoxia: A focus on high-grade glioma. PMID: 32079461.


6) Essig M, Nguyen TB, Shiroishi MS, Saake M, Provenzale JM, Enterline DS, Anzalone N, Dörfler A, Rovira À, Wintermark M, Law M. Perfusion MRI: the five most frequently asked clinical questions. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2013 Sep;201(3):W495-510. doi: 10.2214/AJR.12.9544. Review.


7) Bacigaluppi M, Russo GL, Peruzzotti-Jametti L, Rossi S, Sandrone S, Butti E, De Ceglia R, Bergamaschi A, Motta C, Gallizioli M, Studer V, Colombo E, Farina C, Comi G, Politi LS, Muzio L, Villani C, Invernizzi RW, Hermann DM, Centonze D, Martino G. Neural Stem Cell Transplantation Induces Stroke Recovery by Upregulating Glutamate Transporter GLT-1 in Astrocytes. J Neurosci. 2016 Oct 12;36(41):10529-10544.


8) Presotto, L., Iaccarino, L., Sala, A., Vanoli, E. G., Muscio, C., Nigri, A., ... & Bettinardi, V. (2018). Low-dose CT for the spatial normalization of PET images: A validation procedure for amyloid-PET semi-quantification. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20, 153-160.