dr. Ken Kersemans (PhD)

CRIG member
Ken Kersemans

R&D supervisor – Cyclotron, Department of Nuclear Medicine (UZ Gent) 

Research focus

The cyclotron facility of the department of Nuclear Medicine at UZGent aims to provide the best possible care for its patients by bringing the most promising state of the art imaging probes and radio therapeutic agents from bench to bedside. Aside from the standard routine tracers that we produce on a daily basis, we develop and validate promising new technologies through all stages of clinical trials. Our team has a long standing expertise in translational research and has a strong focus on automation of radiochemistry using PET-isotopes. Together with our radiopharmacy we form a competitive team that has all tools at its disposal to aid our partners in transforming an interesting concept into a new clinical routine. Our most recent projects include:

  • The translation of 18F-PSMA-11, a new tracer for the imaging of prostate cancer, from a preclinical concept into a powerful tool for oncologic imaging. This FWO-sponsored project covered a trajectory from preclinical evaluation, over Phase I, II & III to clinical routine and is currently being investigated for malignancies beyond the prostate.
  • The development of a new LAT-1 specific radiofluorinated phenylalanine analogue (18F-FELP) for brain tumour imaging. This tracer was developed from the ground up by UGent/UZGent and will be subjected to clinical trials starting from Q4 2021.
  • Installation of a new Theranostics lab that will enable the Nuclear Medicine department from the UZGent to bring state of the art Theranostic agents to our patients and develop new Theranostics in the near future.


In 2003 Ken Kersemans obtained his Master's degree in Analytical Chemistry and in 2010 he graduated from the Free University of Brussels (VUB) with a PhD in Chemistry (grade: "summa cum laude"). His doctoral research focused on the development of novel radiofluorinated alkylphenylalanine analogs for tumour imaging with positron emission tomography (PET). During his time as a doctoral student, he gained experience in the field of organic chemistry, radiochemistry, and quantum chemistry and gained insight in the preclinical evaluation of novel PET tracers and molecular imaging. 
From 2010-2015 he took the position of Post-Doctoral Assistant at the University of Ghent, Belgium, where he continued his work on amino acid based tumour tracers. Other research projects in which he was involved focused on the radiosynthesis of novel radiolabeled probes for oncology and neurosciences, preclinical drug development and the quantification of the immobilization of various radiolabeled biopolymers on functionalized biomaterials. 
At this moment, Ken Kersemans is responsible for the R&D efforts at the cyclotron of the department of Nuclear Medicine (UZGent) where he is responsible for the implementation and validation of state of the art imaging probes and theranostics in the clinic. 

Key publications

  • Optimization of PET protocol and interrater reliability of 18F-PSMA-11 imaging of prostate cancer. February 2020. EJNMMI Research 10(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13550-020-0593-7
  • Technical feasibility of [18F]FET and [18F]FAZA PET guided radiotherapy in a F98 glioblastoma rat model. May 2019. Radiation Oncology 14(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13014-019-1290-4
  • New fluoroethyl phenylalanine analogues as potential LAT1-targeting PET tracers for glioblastoma. February 2019. Scientific Reports 9(1):2878. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-40013-x
  • Automated radiosynthesis of Al[18F]PSMA-11 for large scale routine use. January 2018. Applied Radiation and Isotopes 135. DOI: 10.1016/j.apradiso.2018.01.006
  • Finding the appropriate tool for the accurate prediction of microsphere biodistribution: SIR-Spheres radiolabelled with 18F, 111In and 99mTc. June 2017. Conference: SNMMI 2017. At: Denver (USA).

Contact & links

  • Lab Address: Department of Nuclear Medicine
    campus UZ Gent, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • ResearchGate 
  • Ken Kersemans is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks