The Dr. Michael J. Welch Foundation was established in 2012 to honor his life and further his groundbreaking research spanning 45 years, which sought to find new and effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases. Dr. Welch was Director of the Division of Radiological Sciences and Professor of Radiology, Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Developmental Biology, Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Program Head, Oncologic Imaging Program Siteman Cancer Center all at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Dr. Welch was widely regarded as the world’s leader in his specialty, which was radiopharmaceutical chemistry. He was largely responsible for the development and widespread use of radioactive pharmaceutical agents in medical research and practice,” said R. Gilbert Jost, MD, director of the Mallinkcrodt Institute.
Welch’s early work in radiochemistry at Mallinckrodt was instrumental to the team credited with pioneering the technology known as positron emission tomography (PET). Other impactful accomplishments include contributions to the compounds that allow imaging of brain blood flow and creation of imaging agents for the study of many types of cancer. He also worked to ensure that an adequate supply of radiopharmaceuticals was available for medical treatment. As the author of not only one book and co-author of 4, Dr. Welch wrote over 500 papers and contributed over 70 chapters to other’s work. Not just a world-renowned researcher, he mentored an entire generation of radio chemists, which is a field he helped invent. The Foundation will seek to support new talent as part of his legacy as well as support research in nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceutical chemistry.