Prof. Dietz’s role in increasing radioisotope production in the U.S.

Prof. Dietz Group is helping to blaze the trail of reducing the United States’ dependence on foreign countries for vital medical isotopes.

Over the last four years, five students who have trained under UWM Chemistry Professor Mark Dietz have been recruited by NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and SHINE Medical Technologies (both located in Wisconsin) to assist in the production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), a critical radioisotope that is utilized for millions of patients undergoing diagnostic imaging every year.

For years, isotope supply disruptions abroad have caused procedure delays in the U.S. These disruptions prompted the Department of Energy to promote medical isotope production domestically around 10 years ago. NorthStar and SHINE both sought to address this need over the last several years but needed the expertise of chemists trained specifically in the separation of nuclear materials.

That’s where the work of Professor Dietz comes into play. Five graduates of his research group—Kevin Wolters, James Wankowski, Mohammed Abdul Momen, Michael Kaul and Cory Hawkins—all of whom were trained in separating radioactive materials, have been hired by NorthStar and Shine over the last four years to assist with and potentially increase the production of Mo-99 in the U.S.

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