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Senior Staff

Peter Herscovitch, MD
Positron Emission Tomography Department
Senior Attending Physician

Academic Degrees
BEng, McGill University, Montreal
MD, CM, McGill University, Montreal


Phone: 301-451-4248

Portrait of Peter Herscovitch


After earning his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and medical degree from McGill University, Dr. Peter Herscovitch trained further in internal medicine and neurology, including serving as chief resident in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute. He then pursued a career in academic and clinical neurology at Washington University in St. Louis and at Barnes Hospital. In 1987, he came to the NIH Clinical Center as Chief of the Nuclear Medicine Department's Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Section. In 2005, Dr. Herscovitch's role was expanded when he was appointed chief of the PET Department at the CC after serving as acting chief for two years.

Dr. Herscovitch has published and lectured widely on functional brain imaging topics, including cerebral blood flow, neuroreceptor measurements, brain mapping with PET, and brain abnormalities in neuropsychiatric disease. He has co-authored three books—Quantitative Functional Brain Imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (Academic Press, 1998), Brain Imaging Using PET (Academic Press, 2002), and NeuroPET: PET in Neuroscience and Clinical Neurology (Springer-Verlag, 2004).

Selected Honors and Awards

Society of Nuclear Medicine Scientific Program Committee Vice-Chair 2002-04; Associate Chair, 2005-2008; Chair 2009-

Society of Nuclear Medicine Board of Directors, 2007-10

President, Society of Nuclear Medicine Brain Imaging Council, 2006-7

Kuhl-Lassen Brain Imaging Award and Lecturer, Society of Nuclear Medicine, 2000

International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism: Board of Directors, 1995-99; Scientific Program Committee 1999-2001, 2003-2005; Treasurer 2008-

Editorial Board, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 1992-2000; Clinical Nuclear Medicine, 2009-2010

NIH Clinical Center Director's Award, 2005

Fellow, American College of Physicians

Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, Canada

Best Doctors in America (Nuclear Medicine), 1992-93, 1994-95, 1998, 2011

Research Fellow, Medical Research Council of Canada, 1981, 1982

Scarlet Key Honour Society, McGill University

Selected Publications


Carson RE, Daube-Witherspoon ME, Herscovitch P (eds): Quantitative Functional Brain Imaging with Positron Emission Tomography, Academic Press, San Diego, 1998

Senda M, Kimura Y, Herscovitch P (eds): Brain Imaging Using PET, Academic Press, San Diego, 2002

Herlholz K, Herscovitch P, Heiss W-D: NeuroPET: PET in Neuroscience and Clinical Neurology, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 2004

Herscovitch P: Measurement of cerebral blood flow, blood volume, and oxygen metabolism with positron emission tomography. In: Principles of Nuclear Medicine, 2nd ed, Wagner HN Jr. et al, (eds), W.B. Saunders, 1995, pp 505-514.

Herscovitch P: Functional mapping of the human brain. In: Principles of Nuclear Medicine, 2nd ed, Wagner HN Jr. et al, (eds), W.B. Saunders, 1995, pp 514-531.

Daube-Witherspoon M, Herscovitch P: Positron emission tomography. In Nuclear Medicine: Diagnosis and Therapy, Harbert J et al (eds), Thieme, 1996, pp 121-143.

Herscovitch P: Can [15O]water be used to evaluate drugs? J Clin Pharmacol 41:11S-20S, 2001.

Herscovitch P: Cerebral physiologic measurements with PET. In: Positron Emission Tomography: Principles and Practice, DL Bailey, DW Townsend, PE Valk and MN Maisey (eds), Springer-Verlag, 2003, pp 283-307.

Herscovitch P: Functional neuroimaging. In: Principles and Practice of Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology, M Rizzo and PJ Eslinger, (eds), Saunders/Churchill, 2004, pp 115-143

Herscovitch P: Cerebral circulation and its measurement by inert diffusible tracers. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 3d edition, Adelman G and Smith B (eds), Elsevier, 2004


Herscovitch P, Markham J, Raichle ME: Brain blood flow measured with intravenous H215O. I. Theory and error analysis. J Nucl Med 24:782-789, 1983.

Herscovitch P, Raichle ME, Kilbourn MR, Welch MJ: Positron emission tomographic measurement of cerebral blood flow and permeability-surface area product of water using 15O-water and 11C-butanol. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 7:527-542, 1987.

Carson RE, Channing MA, Blasberg RG, Dunn BB, Cohen RM, Rice KC, Herscovitch P: Comparison of bolus and infusion methods for receptor quantitation: application to [18F]-cyclofoxy and positron emission tomography. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 13:24-42, 1993.

Sadato N, Carson RE, Daube-Witherspoon ME, Campbell G, Hallett M, Herscovitch P: Optimization of non-invasive activation studies with O-15 water and 3D PET. J CBF Metabol 17:732-739, 1997.

Braun AR, Balkin TJ, Wessenstein NJ, Guadry F, Carson RE, Varga M, Baldwin P, Belenky G, Herscovitch P. Dissociated activity within the visual cortices and their projections during rapid eye movement sleep. Science 279:91-95, 1998.

Balkin TJ, Braun AR, Wesensten NJ, Varga M, Jeffries K, Baldwin P, Herscovitch P: The process of awakening: Reactivation and functional reorganization of heteromodal association cortices. Brain 125:2308-2319, 2002.

Kurdziel KA, Kiesewetter DO, Carson RE, Eckelman WC, Herscovitch P: Biodistribution, radiation dose estimates and in vivo Pgp modulation studies of [18F]paclitaxel in non-human primates. J Nucl Med 44:1330-1339, 2003.

R Gil-da-Costa, A Braun, M Lopes, MD Hauser, RE Carson, P Herscovitch, A Martin: Towards an evolutionary perspective on conceptual representation: Species-specific calls activate visual and affective processing systems in the macaque. Proceed Nat Acad Sci 101:17516-17521, 2004.

Poremba A, Malloy M, Saunders RC, Carson RE, Herscovitch P, Mishkin M: Species-specific calls evoke asymmetric activity in the monkey's temporal poles. Nature 427:448-451, 2004.

G Giovacchini, L Lang, Y Ma, P Herscovitch, WC Eckelman, RE Carson: Differential effects of paroxetine on raphe and cortical 5-HT1A binding: A PET study in monkeys. NeuroImage 28:238-48, 2005.

Smith CB, Schmidt KC, Bishu S, Channing M, Bacon J, Burlin T, Qin M, Liu Z, Xia Z, Huang T, Vuong B, Herscovitch P: Use of acute hyperphenylalaninemia in rhesus monkeys to examine sensitivity and stability of the L-[1-11C]leucine method for measurement of regional rates of cerebral protein synthesis with PET. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 28:1388-1398, 2008.

G Giovacchini, P Herscovitch, WH Theodore: Using cerebral white matter for estimation of nonspecific binding of 5-HT1A receptors in temporal lobe epilepsy. J Nucl Med 50:1794-800, 2009.

VA Ramchandani, J Umhau, FJ Pavon, V Ruiz-Velasco, W Margas, H Sun, R Damadzic, R Eskay, M Schoor, A Thorsell, ML Schwandt, WH Sommer, WT George, LH Parsons, P Herscovitch, D Hommer, M Heilig: A genetic determinant of the striatal dopamine response to alcohol in males. Molecular Psychiatry, 2010.

This page last reviewed on 09/12/11

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