Enrico Fantoni


I am an applied chemist with a focus on nuclear imaging sciences. My work fits within the neuroimaging and dementia themes by aiming to bring novel PET tracers targeting neuroinflammation from the sketch board to the preclinical validation stage. The BRC/U PhD studentship has been an added bonus throughout my PhD. Aside from the consistent financial support, it has enabled me to create a network of contacts, gain a broad technical background, and feel supported and well cared for.

Among several PPE projects I have been involved in, of particular mention are the three-minute video project, “My project in a nutshell”, aimed at high school students, a Royal Society of Chemistry 'Chemistry Challenge 2013' inspirational talk aimed at GCSE students, Science busking at the Science Museum with the Francis-Crick Institute aimed at the wider public, and the organisation of a series of PPE talks in pubs as part of the Pint of Science festival.


2008-2012 Integrated Masters (MSci) in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry, Imperial College London 
2011 Research Assistant in the Synthetic Organic Chemistry lab of Dr Alex Szpilman, Technion Institute, Israel
2010 Research Assistant in the Computational Molecular Modelling lab of Dr Gunther Peters, Danish Technical University, Denmark
2009 Science Teaching Assistant, William Ellis School, London, UK
2008 HPLC Technical Support Assistant, Agilent Technologies, Church Stretton, UK

Organiser of the Imaging Sciences, KCL section of Pint of Science 2015 and 2016
Heavily involved in the international student work experience organisation IAESTE

Design, synthesis and evaluation of a library of P2X7 Positron Emission Tomography tracers for the imaging of neuroinflammation

Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Radiochemistry, Pharmacology, Cell Biology, Molecular Imaging, Positron Emission Tomography, Animal Biology, Histology.

Neuroinflammation underlies multiple mental disorders and is currently poorly diagnosed despite its strong correlation with the onset of dementia and the exacerbation of depression and multiple sclerosis among others. P2X7 is a key receptor involved in the neuroinflammatory cascade and the development of a positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging tracer. Targeting this could not only open up new discoveries in the field of neuroinflammation but also provide a measure against which to evaluate novel therapies to help stratify patients and monitor disease progression. 

This project therefore lies in the buzzing interdisciplinary field of radiopharmaceutical development for neurological disorders, particularly appealing to those wishing to broaden their reach beyond an individual scientific discipline. My work focuses on the design, synthesis, radiolabelling and evaluation of cells, tissues and rodents from a small library of functionalised small molecule P2X7 PET tracers, derived from the known potent antagonist A-804598. The ultimate aim is of delivering a PET tracer capable of imaging increased P2X7 expression in a rodent model of neuroinflammation.

Professor Antony Gee and Professor Simon Lovestone


Our research areas

We are researching new tests, treatments and theories in mental health, neurology, and dementia. Find out more about the areas in which we are researching.


Developing brain imaging (using MRI, PET and EEG scans) for better diagnosis, improved understanding of disease biology, enhanced prediction of response to treatments, and clearer patient stratification for trials.
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