Reinier Hernandez

Credentials: PhD

Position title: Assistant Professor, Medical Physics


7137 WIMR

Reinier Hernandez is a primary advisor in the Department of Medical Physics.


BS in Chemistry, Florida International University, 2010
MS in Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
PhD in Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016

Department Affilations

Medical Physics


Research Interests

  • Radiochemistry applications in biomedical research
  • Targeted radionuclide therapy –theranostics
  • Radio-immunooncology
  • Neutron capture therapy

At the Applied Radiochemistry Laboratory, we aim to harness the power of radionuclides to solve problems in diverse areas of biomedical research. We seek to develop and implement novel radiotracers and radioanalytical techniques to answer biological questions about cancer and other diseases. An area of focus is the generation, in close collaboration with the UW-Madison cyclotron group, of radiolabeled compounds for positron emission tomography (PET). Another topic of interest is the development of beta and alpha-emitting tumor-targeting compounds for targeted radionuclide therapy of cancer. We are particularly interested in employing TRT agents to modulate the immune microenvironment of tumors to potentiate the anti-tumor effects of immunotherapies. Finally, we seek to create the next generation of tumor-selective Boron and Gadolinium compounds for neutron capture therapy. Our lab emphasizes benchtop-to-bedside research to translate our discoveries into life-saving technologies.

Awards and Honors

  • 2020 – Berson Yalow Award, SNMMI’20, New Orleans, LA
  • 2019 – Department of Energy Travel Award, TAT’19, Ottawa, CA
  • 2018 – EANM Young Authors Award, EANM’18, Dusseldorf, GE
  • 2018 – Young Professionals Committee Award, SNMMI’18, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2018 – SNMMI’18 annual meeting travel award, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2018 – Center for Excellence in Therapy Award, SNMMI’18, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2016 – UW-Madison Student Research Travel Grant
  • 2016 – RPSC Young Investigator Award Symposium (finalist), SNMMI’16, San Diego, CA.
  • 2015 – RSNA Travel Award for Young Investigators in Molecular Imaging, Chicago, IL.
  • 2015 – EANM Eckert & Ziegler Abstract Award, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 2015 – Amgen Scholar Alumni travel grant, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 2015 – SNMMI’15 annual meeting travel award, Baltimore, MA.
  • 2014 – Graduate Research Opportunity Worldwide, Radboud UMC, The Netherlands.
  • 2014 – RPSC Young Investigator Award Symposium (finalist) SNMMI’14, St. Louis, MO
  • 2011 – NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • 2011 – NIH Biotechnology Training Program, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • 2011 – Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, University of Wisconsin – Madison (declined).
  • 2010 – Academic Excellence Achievement Award, Florida International University
  • 2010 – UC Berkeley Edge Conference, UC Berkeley.
  • 2010 – Amgen Scholar Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 2010 – Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Florida International University.
  • 2009 – Department of Energy & FIU Science and Technology Workforce Development Initiative Fellowship, Florida International University.
  • 2006 – First Prize, Undergraduate Student Scientific Forum. InSTEC, Havana, Cuba.
  • 2005 – Third Prize, Undergraduate Student Scientific Forum. InSTEC, Havana, Cuba.


Selected Peer-reviewed Articles (*denotes equal authorship). For a full list of publications visit

  • Hernandez R, Grudzinski JJ, Aluicio-Sarduy E, Massey CF, Pinchuk AN, Bitton AM, Patel R, Zhang RR, Kumar AV, Iyer G, Engle JW, Weichert JP. 177Lu-NM600 targeted radionuclide therapy extends survival in syngeneic murine models of breast cancer. J Nucl Med. 2019 Dec 20
  • Aluicio-Sarduy E, Hernandez R, Olson AP, Barnhart TE., Ellison PA, Engle JW. Production and in vivo PET/CT imaging of the theranostic pair 132/135La. Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 23;9(1):10658.
  • Grudzinski JJ, Hernandez R, Marsh I, Patel R, Aluicio-Sarduy E, Engle J, Morris Z, Bednarz B, Weichert JP. Preclinical Characterization of 86/90Y-NM600 in a variety of murine and human cancer tumor models. J Nucl Med. 2019 Apr 6.
  • Hernandez R, Walker KL, Grudzinski JJ, Aluicio-Sarduy A, Patel R, Zahm CD, Pinchuk AN, Massey CF, Bitton AN, Brown RJ, Sondel PM, Morris ZS, Engle JW, Capitini CM, Weichert JP. 90Y-NM600 targeted radionuclide therapy induces immunologic memory in syngeneic models of T-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Commun. Biol. 2019;2:79.
  • Aluicio-Sarduy E, Hernandez R, Valdovinos HF, Kutyreff CJ, Ellison PA, Barnhart TE, Nickles RJ, Engle JW. Simplified and automatable radiochemical separation strategy for the production of radiopharmaceutical quality 86Y using single column extraction chromatography. Appl Radiat Isot. 2018;142:28-31.
  • Ferreira CA, Hernandez R, Yang Y, Valdovinos HF, Engle JW, Cai W. ImmunoPET of CD146 in a Murine Hindlimb Ischemia Model. Mol Pharm. 2018;15(8):3434-41
  • Valdovinos HF, Hernandez R, Graves S, Ellison PA, Barnhart TE, Theuer CP, Engle JW, Cai W, Nickles RJ. Cyclotron production and radiochemical separation of (55)Co and (58m)Co from (54)Fe, (58)Ni and (57)Fe targets. Appl Radiat Isot. 2017;130:90-101
  • Heskamp S, Hernandez R, Molkenboer-Kuenen JDM, Essler M, Bruchertseifer F, Morgenstern A, Steenbergen EJ, Cai W, Seidl C, McBride WJ, Goldenberg DM, Boerman OC: alpha- Versus beta-Emitting Radionuclides for Pretargeted Radioimmunotherapy of Carcinoembryonic Antigen-Expressing Human Colon Cancer Xenografts. J Nucl Med 2017;58:926-933
  • Hernandez R, Heskamp S, Rijpkema M, Bos DL, Goldenberg DM, McBride WJ, Morgenstern A, Bruchertseifer F, Cai W, Boerman OC: Preventing Radiobleaching of Cyanine Fluorophores Enhances Stability of Nuclear/NIRF Multimodality Imaging Agents. Theranostics 2017;7:1-8
  • 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 beta-cell Mass in Mouse Models of Diabetes. Diabetes 2017; 66(8):2163-2174
  • Hernandez R, England CG, Yang Y, Valdovinos HF, Liu B, Wong HC, Barnhart TE, Cai W. ImmunoPET imaging of tissue factor expression in pancreatic cancer with (89)Zr-Df-ALT-836. J Control Release. 2017;264:160-8
  • Graves SA, Hernandez R, Valdovinos HF, Ellison PA, Engle JW, Barnhart TE, Cai W, Nickles RJ: Preparation and in vivo characterization of 51MnCl2 as PET tracer of Ca2+ channel-mediated transport. Sci Rep 2017;7:3033
  • England CG, Jiang D, Hernandez R, Sun H, Valdovinos HF, Ehlerding EB, Engle JW, Yang Y, Huang P, Cai W. ImmunoPET Imaging of CD146 in Murine Models of Intrapulmonary Metastasis of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Mol Pharm. 2017;14(10):3239-47
  • England CG, Ehlerding EB, Hernandez R, Rekoske BT, Graves SA, Sun H, Liu G, McNeel DG, Barnhart TE, Cai W: Preclinical Pharmacokinetics and Biodistribution Studies of 89Zr-Labeled Pembrolizumab. J Nucl Med 2017;58:162-168
  • Chen F, Valdovinos HF, Hernandez R, Goel S, Barnhart TE, Cai W: Intrinsic radiolabeling of Titanium-45 using mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2017;38:907-913
  • Huang H, Hernandez R, Geng J, Sun H, Song W, Chen F, Graves SA, Nickles RJ, Cheng C, Cai W, Lovell JF: A porphyrin-PEG polymer with rapid renal clearance. Biomaterials 2016;76:25-32
  • Hernandez R, Sun H, England CG, Valdovinos HF, Ehlerding EB, Barnhart TE, Yang Y, Cai W: CD146-targeted immunoPET and NIRF Imaging of Hepatocellular Carcinoma with a Dual-Labeled Monoclonal Antibody. Theranostics 2016;6:1918-1933
  • Hernandez R, Sun H, England CG, Valdovinos HF, Barnhart TE, Yang Y, Cai W: ImmunoPET Imaging of CD146 Expression in Malignant Brain Tumors. Mol Pharm 2016;13:2563-2570
  • England CG, Hernandez R, Eddine SB, Cai W: Molecular Imaging of Pancreatic Cancer with Antibodies. Mol Pharm 2016;13:8-24
  • Chen F, Goel S, Hernandez R, Graves SA, Shi S, Nickles RJ, Cai W: Dynamic Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Renal Clearable Gold Nanoparticles. Small 2016;12:2775-2782
  • Brunnquell CL, Hernandez R, Graves SA, Smit-Oistad I, Nickles RJ, Cai W, Meyerand ME, Suzuki M: Uptake and retention of manganese contrast agents for PET and MRI in the rodent brain. Contrast Media Mol Imaging 2016;11:371-380
  •  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. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015;112:E6525-6534
  • Valdovinos HF, Hernandez R, Barnhart TE, Graves S, Cai W, Nickles RJ: Separation of cyclotron-produced Sc-44 from a natural calcium target using a dipentyl pentylphosphonate functionalized extraction resin. Applied Radiation and Isotopes 2015;95:23-29
  • 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. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015;112:12806-12811
  • Lewis CM, Graves SA, Hernandez R, Valdovinos HF, Barnhart TE, Cai W, Meyerand ME, Nickles RJ, Suzuki M: (5)(2)Mn production for PET/MRI tracking of human stem cells expressing divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1). Theranostics 2015;5:227-239
  • Hernandez R, Czerwinski A, Chakravarty R, Graves SA, Yang Y, England CG, Nickles RJ, Valenzuela F, Cai W: Evaluation of two novel (6)(4)Cu-labeled RGD peptide radiotracers for enhanced PET imaging of tumor integrin alphavbeta(3). Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2015;42:1859-1868
  • Graves SA, Hernandez R, Fonslet J, England CG, Valdovinos HF, Ellison PA, Barnhart TE, Elema DR, Theuer CP, Cai W, Nickles RJ, Severin GW: Novel Preparation Methods of (52)Mn for ImmunoPET Imaging. Bioconjug Chem 2015;26:2118-2124
  • Hernandez R, Valdovinos HF, Yang Y, Chakravarty R, Hong H, Barnhart TE, Cai W: (44)Sc: an attractive isotope for peptide-based PET imaging. Mol Pharm 2014;11:2954-2961
  • Hernandez R, Nayak TR, Hong H, Cai W: Non‐Nanoparticle‐Based Dual‐Modality Imaging Agents. The Chemistry of Molecular Imaging 2014:335-354
  • Hernandez R, Orbay H, Cai W: Molecular imaging strategies for in vivo tracking of microRNAs: a comprehensive review. Curr Med Chem 2013;20:3594-3603

Book Chapters

    • Hernandez R, Nayak TR, Hong H, Cai W. Non‐Nanoparticle‐Based Dual‐Modality Imaging Agents. The Chemistry of Molecular Imaging 2014; 335-354.
    • Hernandez R, Krasteva LK, Cai W. Labeling of antibodies and antibody fragments with radiometals for immunoPET. In Monoclonal Antibodies – Development, Delivery and Applications, edited by Mohammed Shameem and Lei Zheng. Future Science Group, 2014


  • US Patent # 20190184040 A1, 2017, Targeted Macrocyclic Agents for Dual Modality PET and MRI Imaging of Cancer.
  • US Patent # 20180126012 A1, 2016, Using Targeted Radiotherapy (TRT) to Drive Anti-Tumor Immune Response to Immunotherapies.
  • US Patent # AU2016416524 A1, 2016, Radioactive Phospholipid Metal Chelates for Cancer Imaging and Therapy.
  • US Patent # 20180271470 A1, 2017, Methods for quantifying pancreatic beta cell function and mass properties with radiomanganese positron emission tomography.
  • US Patent # 20160199524 A1, 2016, Radiosensitivity of fluorophores and use of radioprotective agents for dual-modality imaging


  • 2014- Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI)
  • 2014- European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM)
  • 2015- Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
  • 2018- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Targeted Radionuclide Therapy Working Group
  • 2018- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Neutron Capture Therapy Working Group
  • 2019- UW-Madison Comparative Oncology Working Group
  • 2019- TRT Consortium Organizing Committee