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Biographical Sketch

Juan José Vaquero is a faculty member at the Departamento de Bioingenieria e Ingeniería Aeroespacial, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid since 2010. He received a Master in Telecommunication Engineering degree from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in 1988, and a European EUR ING in 1992. He also holds a Master of Bioengineering degree from the UNED and a PhD in Medical Imaging from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.


He joined SIEMENS-Spain as the Head of the Cardiology, Ultrasound and Operating Theatres Group from 1988 to 1990.


Between 1991 and 1997 he carried out research as a postdoctoral scientist at UPM that was focused on medical imaging, and led projects which developed a clinical gamma camera and MRI prototypes for small-animal and human imaging.


From 1997 to 2001 he was a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA), where he was the principal engineer for the development of a new generation of small-animal PET systems.


In 2001, he returned to Madrid and joined the Unidad de Medicina y Cirugía Experimental (Experimental Medicine and Surgery Unit) of the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón as a Ramón y Cajal Fellow in 2007, and he became a senior scientist at the Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Gregorio Marañón (FIBHGM), where he managed the preclinical molecular imaging activities.


His current research is focused on the development of small-animal molecular imaging systems and their associated instrumentation and data analysis. For this purpose, he directs his research group in coordination with research projects involving a variety of local, national and international collaborators (see below), as well as with industrial partners.


He has co-authored more than 186 journal articles and book chapters, and currently holds 13 patents on medical imaging devices.


Major achievements

•    Chief Engineer of an academic-industrial initiative that produced the first series of MRI imagers made in Spain for preclinical and clinical research (1995).

•    Developed a small animal preclinical scanner technology that allowed researchers to collect triple modality images (PET-CT-MRI) on the same animal subjects (1999).

•    Engineered (in collaboration with two other scientists at NIH) the first DOI-PET small-animal scanner (2000), the ATLAS PET scanner that has been in used at NIH for more than a decade. More recently, this same technology was transferred and developed on an industrial basis, and the resulting commercial product (the ARGUS PET/CT) was one of the most successfully commercialized molecular scanners between 2005 and 2011, with units installed in many reference labs around the world.

•    Director of the new Biomedical Engineering Degree at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, (2010).

•    Conducted original in-vivo PET/CT imaging studies of brain function in living chicken embryos (2012). This was an innovative non-invasive study of the development of waking-like brain activity in the embryo.


Major collaborators outside my home institutions

  • Prof Evan S. Balaban, Developmental Neurobiology, Dept. of Psychology, Behavioral Neurosciences Program, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

  • Prof Stephen L. Bacharach, Molecular Imaging, Radiology, Center for Molecular and Functional Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, USA

  • Dr Joan D. Gispert, Neuroimaging, Fundació Pasqual Maragall, Barcelona, Spain

  • Prof Stefano Di Pascoli, Biomedical Instrumentation, Dip. Ingegneria Informazione, Universita' di Pisa, Italy

  • Prof José Manuel Udías, Nuclear Physics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

  • Dr David Izquierdo, PET/MRI Instrumentation and data processing, Athinoula A. Martinos Center, Harvard University/Mass. General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, US




PET/CT image of a chicken embryo inside the egg: CT quntification is used to determine its developmental stage, while Positron Emission Tomography shows the metabolism activity in the central nervous system.


Funded by the HFSP, Human Frontier Science Program grant RGP0004/2013.

Monitoring Disease Progression


In-vivo PET/CT imaging for treatment monitoring: The hot color distribution represents an active inflamation in the lungs (gray) of a guinea pig. Quantificacion of the affected volume is used as a surrogate of disease progression.


Funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement no. 115337, which comprises financial contributions from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and EFPIA companies’ in kind contribution. 

Anchor 2

Small Animal Imaging


3D render of an in-vivo bird head PET/CT scan: bone structures surround the iso-surface of the FDG PET activity distribution (red).


Funded by the RIC-RETIC network, MINECO, Spanish Government.

Preclinical Molecular Imaging Technology


High-resolution, high-performance detectors that integrate the latest technologies enable in vivo studies with excellent image quality and accurate quantification of the physiological parameters being studied.


Funded by the INFEIRI Network, Marie Curie ITN EU FP7 and the Spanish Government, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.

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