Alexey Kostikov

Associate ProfessorAlexey Kostikov
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery


B.Sc. (Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, 2001)
Ph.D. (University of Georgia, USA, 2007)
Postdoc (Syracuse University, USA, 2007-2008)
Postdoc (McGill University, Canada, 2009-2011)


McGill University, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery (primary affiliation)
McGill University, Department of Chemistry (associate member)
McGill University, Center for Studies in Aging (associate member)

Contact Information

Office: the Neuro, 3801 University street, WB326
Phone: (514) 398-1503
Lab: the Neuro, NW149
Email: alexey.kostikov [at]

Research Themes

  • Chemical Biology
  • Synthesis/Catalysis

Research Description

Positron emission tomography (PET) is an in vivo molecular imaging modality which relies on radioactive isotopes embedded within biologically active molecules, called PET tracers. After administration of such tracers to a patient or study subject, the emitted radiation from the decay of the isotope penetrates the tissues and can be detected by the external camera to produce an image of the tracer’s biodistribution. Since its inception about 50 years ago, PET has been extensively used for cancer, cardiac and brain imaging in both basic research of human health and in clinical practice. Our research is focused on development of novel PET radiotracers for in vivo imaging of brain biomarkers implicated in a variety of neuropsychological and neurodegenerative conditions and improving the efficiency of radiolabeling procedures.

Development of novel PET tracers for neuroreceptor imaging. In particular, our research is focused on PET tracer development for neurotrophin receptors p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) and tropomyosin kinase receptor (TrkA/B/C) implicated in neurodegenerative diseases as well as melatonin type 1 and type 2 receptors (MT1 and MT2), implicated primarily in sleep and mood disorders. This work has been published in the Journal of Radiolabelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals and we are preparing another manuscript for ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

New chemistry for 18F-radiolabeling of peptides and proteins. Our group is primarily interested in development of druglike organosilicon scaffolds amenable for facile radiolabeling with an isotope fluorine-18 to design siliconized imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET). We also developed a biocompatible “radioclick” technique for selective and nearly quantitative 18F-labeling of peptide and more complex proteins via strain-promotes acetylene-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC). Our latest publication was selected for the cover art in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.

Improvement of general 11C-radiolabeling procedures. We developed the “[11C]kits” for production of carbon-11 labeled PET radiotracers using disposable manifolds on automated modules, which proved to be very reliable and allows for consecutive production of tracers with minimal intervals between the syntheses. We also developed a solid-phase supported 11C-radiolabeling on disposable cartridges and published it in the Journal of Radiolabelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals and recently as a video guide in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

Currently Teaching

CHEM 520 Methods in Chemical Biology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

NEUR 507 Topics in Radionuclide Imaging 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PHGY 515 Blood-Brain Barrier:Hlth & Dis 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Back to top