Hiroto Kuwabara, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Hiroto Kuwabara
  • Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science


Dr. Hiroto Kuwarbara is an Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, specializing in research using the positron emission tomography.

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  • Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science

Departments / Divisions

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Kuwabara’s primary research areas are as follows.

  • Research on normal aging and dementia: The immediate goal is to identify the most appropriate radiotracer for imaging of tau tangles by directly comparing RO-948 (from us) to MK-6240 (R21 AG062314; in 12 percentile), and to AV1451, current leading tracer with ‘off-target’ binding (application in preparation). In parallel, I intend to develop a robust approach for detection of initial accumulation of tau tangles in aging and dementia including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Continued development of the integrative data analysis environment (IDAE) for PET. With IDAE, users can prepare / manage analysis packages, perform analyses, and summarize results in a project-wide manner, all by mere clicks of graphical user-interface (GUIs) alone with a few exceptions. Owing to these features, I found that I could analyze several holds more projects now than the pre-IDAE era. IDAE is being used by collaborators nationally (University of Pennsylvania, University of New Mexico, and University of Pittsburg), and internationally (University of Leipzig). I intend to publish IDAE in scientific journals, and as freeware, and gain grant support from external sources.
  • Continued development of data analysis tools: Currently, region-based PET analyses suffer from insufficiencies of automated region segmentation approaches, and voxel-wise analyses suffer from insufficiencies of spatial normalization techniques (i.e., to transform subjects’ brains similar to each other). I intend to continue improving approaches for correcting insufficiencies of region segmentation fast and accurately, and evaluating existing and new approaches, among other region-related developments (such as subdivisions of focused regions). In these areas of research, I will focus on publishing results in scientific journals, and gain external grant support. 

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Kuwabara H, McCaul ME, Wand GS, Earley CJ, Allen RP, Weerts EM, Dannals RF, Wong DF. (2012) Dissociative changes in Bmax and KD of dopamine D2/D3 receptors with aging observed in functional subdivisions of striatum: A revisit with an improved data analysis method. J Nucl Med 53:805-12 doi:10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00554. Epub 2016 Aug 23. PubMed PMID: 27500461

Kuwabara H, Heishman SJ, Brasic JR, Contoreggi C, Cascella N, Mackowick KM, Taylor R, Rousset O, Willis W, Huestis MA, Concheiro M, Wand G, Wong DF, Volkow ND. (2014) Mu Opioid Receptor Binding Correlates with Nicotine Dependence and Reward in Smokers. PLoS One. 9:e113694. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113694. eCollection 2014. PMID: 25493427; PMCID: PMC4262264

Kuwabara H, Gao Y, Stabin M, Coughlin J, Nimmagadda S, Dannals RF, Pomper MG, Horti AG. Imaging α4β2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors (nAChRs) in Baboons with [(18)F]XTRA, a Radioligand with Improved Specific Binding in Extra-Thalamic Regions. Mol Imaging Biol. 2017 Apr;19(2):280-288. doi:10.1007/s11307-016-0999-9. PubMed PMID: 27562686

Wong DF, Comley RA, Kuwabara H, Rosenberg PB, Resnick SM, Ostrowitzki S, Vozzi C, Boess F, Oh E, Lyketsos CG, Honer M, Gobbi L, Klein G, George N, Gapasin L, Kitzmiller K, Roberts J, Sevigny J, Nandi A, Brasic J, Thambisetty M, Mogadar A, Mathur A, Albert M, Dannals RF, Borroni E. First in-human PET study of 3 novel tau radiopharmaceuticals: [11C]RO6924963, [11C]RO6931643, and [18F]RO6958948. J Nucl Med. 2018 Jul 1;21(7):656-667. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyy021

Kuwabara H, Comley RA, Borroni E, Honer M, Kitmiller K, Roberts J, Gapasin L, Mathur A, Klein G, Wong DF. Evaluation of (18)F-RO-948 PET for Quantitative Assessment of Tau Accumulation in the Human Brain. J Nucl Med. 2018 Dec;59(12):1877-1884. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.118.214437. Epub 2018 Aug 10. PubMedPMID: 30097505; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6278898

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