Lab Members

Principle Investigator

  • Charles Manning, PhD

    Associate Professor of Radiology, BME, Neurosugery and CPB
    Director of Molecular Imaging Research and Center for Molecular Probes


  • Jason R Buck, Ph.D

    Imaging Research Scientist

    Jason graduated undergrad from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio. From there, he obtained his doctorate in organic chemistry at Vanderbilt University, in the lab of Carmelo J. Rizzo. He did a post-doc in Craig Lindsley's lab at the Department of  Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, and a post-doc at the Department of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, with Charles Manning. Jason additionally has biotech industry experience. In the lab, Jason works on the development of small-molecule PET probes for molecular imaging of cancer that target: TSPO (translocator protein) and metabolism. Jason also works on Initiating clinical PET trials at Vanderbilt University through writing and submitting IND (investigational new drug) applications to the FDA.  Jason's free time involves spending quality time with friends and family.

  • Allie has worked on cancer research at Vanderbilt University since 1998. Allie's research includes the evaluation of new molecular probes for cancer imaging, and studying the effects of new drugs on signaling pathways and apoptosis.  Allie also helps maintain laboratory operations, inventory, purchasing and animal breeding for the Manning group.  In her free time, Allie enjoys participating in Asian traditional folk dance and shopping.


  • Dr. Ayres holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. She completed her pediatric residency at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and is currently a third year radiology resident at Vanderbilt University. Karen's research interests include using estrogen receptor imaging to visualize desmoid tumors, as well as using estrogen receptor imaging to measures response to therapy in the cancer setting. Karen has successfully secured VICTR funding for clinical PET scans, and looks forward to continuing her work in the lab the duration of her residency. In her free time, Karen enjoys spending time with her two children, and watching movies at the Belcourt Theatre. 

  • James P Harty, MD

    Resident Physician
    Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences

    James is a radiology resident at Vanderbilt University. James went to Notre Dame for undergraduate earning a degree in Biology, and then went on to attend medical school at the University of Louisville.  James is currently a fourth year radiology resident, and is looking forward to his neuroradiology fellowship next year. In the lab, James focuses on clinical protocol writing for first in human pilot studies and is also involved in manuscript writing and editing. He is interested in the projects that focus on early detection of glioma using novel PET probes. In his free time, James enjoys hikes at Radnor Lake and hanging out with his dog, Zoey.  


  • Jun Li, B.S, M.S.

    Graduate Student
    Materials Science

    Jun came from a small city in the middle area of China. Before coming to the Vanderbilt University and joining Dr. Manning's lab, his master's research mainly focused on the development of processing methods for PSCs. In the Manning Lab, his research has focused on the synthesis of a translocator protein (TSPO) targeted probe for optical imaging. Binding assays, SAR, in vivo metabolite and other methods are applied in this study.  We are aiming at developing a probe with high binding affinity for use in human cancer imaging as a  simple, fast and inexpensive screening method. In his free time, Jun likes traveling. 

High School Students

  • Madison began research as a Junior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School. Drawn to academic research by a passion for science and discovery, she was connected to the institute and Manning lab by Bruce Damon and has flourished in both chemistry and biology with her research. Mentored by Mike Schulte, her research includes synthetic chemistry and biology, developing novel ligands for PET imaging of lung cancer. Researching throughout the school year and summer months, she has developed an understanding of complex scientific processes and is able to contribute significantly to the lab. In her free time, Madison enjoys traveling and reading classic novels and scientific literature. She also likes to hike with her family and study foreign languages (currently Spanish, French and Italian).