Bonnie (Nemeth) Clarke ’87 is director of the Clinical Trials Network (CTN) at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI). SNMMI is a nonprofit scientific and professional organization that promotes the application of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging to help detect diseases.
PET (Positron-emission-tomography) scanners are used with injected radioactive agents, or drugs, into a body, allowing doctors to see problems at a cellular level. This means it can target diseases more closely and earlier than other types of scans. Clarke is in the middle of filing a new drug application (NDA) for the radioactive drug 18F-DOPA, which, once injected, will be able to help detect the lesion instantly. She should know by the end of 2019 whether the FDA approves the drug.
Clarke grew up in Harmony Township, N.J., a rural area in the northwest section of the state. Neither of her parents attended college. As a senior in high school, she knew she wanted to study medicine, but her parents didn’t feel they had the background to guide her school search, so they sought the advice of the town doctor. He encouraged Clarke to apply to Ursinus.
Graduating with a biology degree, Clarke didn’t go on to medical school, but landed a job at Johnson & Johnson in their clinical research and trials division. She worked closely with physicians and researchers in drug trials on everything from oral contraceptives to antibiotics and anti-epileptics. Clarke loved the research.