The University of Chicago was one of the first universities to have an academically installed cyclotron (1968). That machine, pictured above, and the program it supported enjoyed a long and storied history in radiochemistry and instrumentation. Investigators such as Katherine Lathrop, Paul Harper, Robert (Bob) Beck, and others provided a rich palette of research interests. Most history of the early days of the Department of Radiology at the University of Chicago can be found at this link.
Katherine Lathrop, a member of the Manhattan Project, was a key member of the University of Chicago team that introduced 99mTc into clinical practice in the early 1960s as a radiotracer agent in nuclear medicine. This radioactive substance is now used tens of thousands of times a day in the United States and tens of millions of times a year worldwide in nuclear medicine scans designed to identify tumors or abnormal metabolism. Harper and Lathrop also developed the commercial method for producing 125I, another commonly used diagnostic radionuclide. She passed away in 2005.
The CS-15 cyclotron was installed in 1968 and ran for 30 years. It was housed inside a vault in the sub-basement of the Frank McLean Institute. Radiochemistry was done on the floor above where there was a PET scanner. The CS-15 was decommissioned in 1997 due to changes in the DOE’s sponsored research focus. Renewed interest in early 2000’s to start a radiochemistry program around a new, state-of-the-art cyclotron.