Weibo Cai

Credentials: PhD

Position title: Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Radiology and Medical Physics


Phone: (608) 262-1749

7th Floor, Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research

Weibo Cai is a primary advisor in the Department of Medical Physics.


B.S. Chemistry, Nanjing University, Najing, China, 1995

M.S. Chemistry, University of California, San Diego, 2000

Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California, San Diego, 2004

Advisor: Professor Murray Goodman

Department Affilations


Medical Physics

Biomedical Engineering

Materials Science & Engineering

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Interests

  • Multimodality Molecular Imaging (PET, optical, MRI)
  • Nanomedicine
  • Molecular Therapy

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI, 2019)
  • H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, UW-Madison (2019-2024)
  • Acta Pharmacologica Sinica (APS) Outstanding Paper Award (2019)
  • Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate Analytics (Cross-Field, 2018)
  • Chinese Society of Nuclear Medicine (CSNM) Annual Meeting Plenary Lecturer (2018)
  • Inaugural Nano Research Young Innovators (NR45) in Nanobiotechnology (2018)
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) (2018)
  • Nano-Micro Letters (NML) Researcher Award (2018)
  • Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship Award, UW – Madison (2016-2021)
  • Plenary Lecturer, European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Annual Congress (2016)
  • Vilas Associate Award, UW – Madison Graduate School (2014-2016)
  • 1st Annual Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), Future Leaders Academy (2014)
  • Siemens Novel Application Image of the Year (2nd Place) (2013)
  • South Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen SMART Komen Champions (2013)
  • EANM Springer Prize for Best Basic Science Paper (2013)
  • Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Highlights (2013)
  • American Cancer Society Research Scholar (2013-2017)
  • Berson-Yalow Award, Society of Nuclear Medicine (as Senior Author) (2012)
  • EANM Eckert & Ziegler Abstract Award (2012)
  • Rusch Poster Award for Best Basic Research, UWCCC Annual Research Retreat (2012)
  • EANM Springer Prize for Most Cited Paper (2011)
  • Press Release, Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting (2011)
  • Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program IDEA Award (2011-2014)
  • Wisconsin Partnership Program MERC New Investigator Award (2009-2012)
  • Top 10 Molecular Imaging Research Papers from Journal of Nuclear Medicine (2007)
  • SNM Young Professionals Committee Best Basic Science Award (1st Place) (2007)
  • Society of Nuclear Medicine Benedict Cassen Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2006-2008)
  • Top 10 Most-Cited Articles in Nano Letters (2006)
  • Stanford University School of Medicine Dean’s Fellowship (2005-2006)
  • Model Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCSD (2003)


Selected publications:

  1. Liu Z,* Cai W,* He L, Nakayama N, Chen K, Sun X, Chen X, Dai H. In-vivo biodistribution and highly efficient tumor targeting of carbon nanotubes in mice. Nature Nanotechnology, 2007, 2, 47-52. (Cited > 1100 times)
  2. Zhang Y, Jeon M, Rich LJ, Hong H, Geng J, Zhang Y, Shi S, Barnhart TE, Alexandridis P, Huizinga JD, Seshadri M, Cai W,* Kim C,* Lovell JF.* Non-invasive multimodal functional imaging of the intestine with frozen micellar naphthalocyanines. Nature Nanotechnology, 2014, 9, 631-638.
  3. Jiang D, Ge Z, Im H-J, England CG, Ni D, Hou J, Zhang L, Kutyreff CJ, Yan Y, Liu Y, Cho SY, Engle JW, Shi J, Huang P, Fan C, Yan H, Cai W. DNA origami nanostructures can exhibit preferential renal uptake and alleviate acute kidney injury. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2018, 2, 865-877.
  4. Ni D, Jiang D, Ehlerding EB, Huang P, Cai W. Radiolabeling silica-based nanoparticles via coordination chemistry: basic principles, strategies, and applications. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2018, 51, 778-788.
  5. Luo H, Hernandez R, Hong H, Graves SA, Yang Y, England CG, Theuer CP, Nickles RJ, Cai W. Noninvasive brain cancer imaging with a bispecific antibody fragment, generated via click chemistry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015, 112, 12806-12811. (PMCID: PMC4611632)
  6. Yang Y, Hernandez R, Rao J, Yin L, Qu Y, Wu J, England CG, Graves SA, Lewis CM, Wang P, Meyerand ME, Nickles RJ, Bian XW, Cai W. Targeting CD146 with a 64Cu-labeled antibody enables in vivo immunoPET imaging of high-grade gliomas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2015, 112, E6525-E6534.
  7. Cai W, Chen X. Preparation of peptide-conjugated quantum dots for tumor vasculature-targeted imaging. Nature Protocols, 2008, 3, 89-96.
  8. Chen F, Ellison PA, Lewis CM, Hong H, Zhang Y, Shi S, Hernandez R, Meyerand ME, Barnhart TE, Cai W. Chelator-free synthesis of a dual-modality PET/MRI agent. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2013, 52, 13319-13323. (PMCID: PMC3855680)
  9. Shi S, Xu C, Yang K, Goel S, Valdovinos HF, Luo H, Ehlerding EB, England CG, Cheng L, Chen F, Nickles RJ, Liu Z, Cai W. Chelator-free radiolabeling of nanographene: Breaking the stereotype of chelation. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2017, 56, 2889-2892.
  10. Yu B, Wei H, He Q, Ferreira CA, Kutyreff CJ, Ni D, Rosenkrans ZT, Cheng L, Yu F, Engle JW, Lan X, Cai W. Efficient uptake of 177Lu-porphyrin-PEG nanocomplexes by tumor mitochondria for multimodal-imaging-guided combination therapy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2018, 57, 218-222. (PMCID: PMC5745268)
  11. Chakravarty R, Valdovinos HF, Chen F, Lewis CM, Ellison PA, Luo H, Meyerand ME, Nickles RJ, Cai W. Intrinsically germanium-69-labeled iron oxide nanoparticle: synthesis and in-vivo dual-modality PET/MR imaging. Advanced Materials, 2014, 26, 5119-5123.
  12. Goel S, Ferreira CA, Chen F, Ellison PA, Siamof CM, Barnhart TE, Cai W. Activatable hybrid nanotheranostics for tetramodal imaging and synergistic photothermal/photodynamic therapy. Advanced Materials, 2018, 30, 1704367. (PMCID: PMC5805572)
  13. Ni D, Ferreira CA, Barnhart TE, Quach V, Yu B, Jiang D, Wei W, Liu H, Engle JW, Hu P, Cai W. Magnetic targeting of nanotheranostics enhances Cerenkov radiation-induced photodynamic therapy. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, 140, 14971-14979.
  14. Cai W, Shin DW, Chen K, Gheysens O, Cao Q, Wang SX, Gambhir SS, Chen X. Peptide-labeled near-infrared quantum dots for imaging tumor vasculature in living subjects. Nano Letters, 2006, 6, 669-676. (Cited > 1000 times)
  15. Ni D, Jiang D, Valdovinos HF, Ehlerding EB, Yu B, Barnhart TE, Huang P, Cai W. Bioresponsive polyoxometalate cluster for redox-activated photoacoustic imaging-guided photothermal cancer therapy. Nano Letters, 2017, 17, 3282-3289. (PMCID: PMC5495651)
  16. Cai W, Wu Y, Chen K, Cao Q, Tice DA, Chen X. In vitro and in vivo characterization of 64Cu-labeled AbegrinTM, a humanized monoclonal antibody against integrin αvβ3. Cancer Research, 2006, 66, 9673-9681.
  17. Luo H, England CG, Shi S, Graves SA, Hernandez R, Liu B, Theuer CP, Wong HC, Nickles RJ, Cai W. Dual targeting of tissue factor and CD105 for preclinical PET imaging of pancreatic cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 2016, 22, 3821-3830. (PMCID: PMC4970931)
  18. Hernandez R, Graves SA, Gregg T, VanDeusen HR, Fenske RJ, Wienkes HN, England CG, Valdovinos HF, Jeffery JJ, Barnhart TE, Severin GW, Nickles RJ, Kimple ME, Merrins MJ, Cai W. Radiomanganese PET detects changes in functional β-cell mass in mouse models of diabetes. Diabetes, 2017, 66, 2163-2174. (PMCID: PMC5521871)
  19. Ehlerding EB, Sun L, Lan X, Zeng D, Cai W. Dual-targeted molecular imaging of cancer. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 2018, 59, 390-395.
  20. Hong H, Severin GW, Yang Y, Engle JW, Zhang Y, Barnhart TE, Liu G, Leigh BR, Nickles RJ, Cai W. Positron emission tomography imaging of CD105 expression with 89Zr-Df-TRC105. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 2012, 39, 138-148. (PMCID: PMC3228902) (EANM Springer Prize for Best Basic Science Paper)


  1. Cai J, Niu Y, Cai W, Hong H. RGD mimetic γ-AApeptides and methods of use, United States Patent (US 9,234,007 B2, issued 1/12/2016).
  2. Cai W, Nickles RJ, Hernandez R, Graves SA. Methods for quantifying pancreatic beta cell function and mass properties with radiomanganese positron emission tomography, United States Patent (Filed 3/22/2018).
  3. Wang X, Cai W, Yao G, Kang L. Self-powered, auto-responsive implanted vagal nerve stimulator for weight control, United States Patent (Filed 6/15/2018)
  4. Yan H, Jiang D, Ge Z, Im H-J, England C, Huang P, Fan C, Cai W. DNA origami nanostructures for treatment of acute kidney injury, United States Patent (Filed 3/8/2018)


  • 2005-, American Peptide Society (APS)
  • 2005-, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI)
  • 2008-, European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM)
  • 2009-, Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (CASNMMI)
  • 2011-, Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences (SRS)
  • 2015-, Chinese American Society of Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology (CASNN)
  • 2018-, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • 2018-, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)