Bio


Carmen grew up in Northern California and graduated from Oberlin College in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry. Carmen Azevedo is currently a lab manager and research assistant in Dr. Michelle James’ lab in the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). Carmen first joined Stanford as part of the Cyclotron and Radiochemistry facility in 2016 where she mastered the stringent requirements for routine clinical production of radiopharmaceuticals. This experience in conjunction with assembling eINDs made her an extremely valuable addition to Dr. James’ lab. Since joining the lab, Carmen has learned all of the techniques necessary to assess preclinical radiotracers in animal models and regularly images small animals. Most recently, Carmen generated the first human specific CD19 PET tracers (intact antibody and antobody fragment) for imaging B cells and is planning to translate this imaging agent to the clinic in the coming 12 – 18 months. The goal is to use this CD19 PET tracer to determine which MS patients will respond to anti-B cell therapies. To work toward translation, Carmen is using a common MS mouse model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), to characterize the antibody. The radiotracer has shown affinity for B cells in vivo, and she will further investigate if we can measure B cell depletion following treatment using PET imaging, autoradiography, biodistribution data, and flow cytometry.
In addition to Carmen’s impressive scientific knowledge and experimental skills, she is very passionate about mentoring and academic service in the research community. She has been diligently teaching science in underserved schools monthly for several years and was recognized by the organization, Science is Elementary, as an outstanding volunteer. She is also a member of the WMIS Women in Molecular Imaging Network (WIMIN) leadership committee. As part of WIMIN, Carmen is a co-chair of the social media and webinar sub-committee where she helps run a new networking-focused seminar series for young trainees and PIs. Aside from outreach, Carmen is a host and writer for the science podcast Goggles Optional, where she covers recent science news and articles and presents them for a general audience. Her interest
in science communication led her to explore the use of social media for outreach and networking, and she helps manage the lab’s Twitter account and lab website updates.

Current Role at Stanford


Ms. Azevedo focuses on the translation of radiotracers for imaging neurordegenerative diseases.

Education & Certifications


  • B.A., Oberlin College, Biochemistry (2015)

Service, Volunteer and Community Work


  • Women in Molecular Imaging Network, World Molecular Imaging Society (1/2020 - Present)

    The WIMIN Interest Group fosters the career development and advancement of women in molecular imaging sciences through all stages of their careers, takes an advocacy position within the WMIS on issues of importance to women in molecular imaging sciences, provides leadership for career development opportunities for women in molecular imaging sciences, and promotes and recognizes the professional and scientific accomplishments of women in molecular imaging sciences.

    Location

    Culver City, CA

  • Science is Elementary volunteer, Science is Elementary (9/1/2016 - Present)

    Teach science lessons to children at underserved schools once a month

    Location

    Menlo Park, CA

  • MIPS/Canary Trainee Council member, MIPS/Canary Trainee Council (December 2017 - September 2021)

    Plan and implement trainings and workshops for trainees in MIPS and the Canary research center. Host monthly socials to foster community.

    Location

    Stanford, CA

All Publications


  • Radiosynthesis and initial preclinical evaluation of [11C]AZD1283 as a potential P2Y12R PET radiotracer. Nuclear medicine and biology Jackson, I. M., Buccino, P. J., Azevedo, E. C., Carlson, M. L., Luo, A. S., Deal, E. M., Kalita, M., Reyes, S. T., Shao, X., Beinat, C., Nagy, S. C., Chaney, A. M., Anders, D. A., Scott, P. J., Smith, M., Shen, B., James, M. L. 2022

    Abstract

    INTRO: Chronic neuroinflammation and microglial dysfunction are key features of many neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's Disease and multiple sclerosis. While there is unfortunately a dearth of highly selective molecular imaging biomarkers/probes for studying microglia in vivo, P2Y12R has emerged as an attractive candidate PET biomarker being explored for this purpose. Importantly, P2Y12R is selectively expressed on microglia in the CNS and undergoes dynamic changes in expression according to inflammatory context (e.g., toxic versus beneficial/healing states), thus having the potential to reveal functional information about microglia in living subjects. Herein, we identified a high affinity, small molecule P2Y12R antagonist (AZD1283) to radiolabel and assess as a candidate radiotracer through in vitro assays and in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of both wild-type and total knockout mice and a non-human primate.METHODS: First, we evaluated the metabolic stability and passive permeability of non-radioactive AZD1283 in vitro. Next, we radiolabeled [11C]AZD1283 with radioactive precursor [11C]NH4CN and determined stability in formulation and human plasma. Finally, we investigated the in vivo stability and kinetics of [11C]AZD1283 via dynamic PET imaging of naive wild-type mice, P2Y12R knockout mouse, and a rhesus macaque.RESULTS: We determined the half-life of AZD1283 in mouse and human liver microsomes to be 37 and>160min, respectively, and predicted passive CNS uptake with a small amount of active efflux, using a Caco-2 assay. Our radiolabeling efforts afforded [11C]AZD1283 in an activity of 12.69±10.64mCi with high chemical and radiochemical purity (>99%) and molar activity of 1142.84±504.73mCi/mumol (average of n=3). Of note, we found [11C]AZD1283 to be highly stable in vitro, with >99% intact tracer present after 90min of incubation in formulation and 60min of incubation in human serum. PET imaging revealed negligible brain signal in healthy wild-type mice (n=3) and a P2Y12 knockout mouse (0.55±0.37%ID/g at 5min post injection). Strikingly, high signal was detected in the liver of all mice within the first 20min of administration (peak uptake=58.28±18.75%ID/g at 5min post injection) and persisted for the remaining duration of the scan. Ex vivo gamma counting of mouse tissues at 60min post-injection mirrored in vivo data with a mean %ID/g of 0.9%±0.40, 0.02%±0.01, and 106±29.70% in the blood, brain, and liver, respectively (n=4). High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of murine blood and liver metabolite samples revealed a single radioactive peak (relative area under peak: 100%), representing intact tracer. Finally, PET imaging of a rhesus macaque also revealed negligible CNS uptake/binding in monkey brain (peak uptake=0.37 Standard Uptake Values (SUV)).CONCLUSION: Despite our initial encouraging liver microsome and Caco-2 monolayer data, in addition to the observed high stability of [11C]AZD1283 in formulation and human serum, in vivo brain uptake was negligible and rapid accumulation was observed in the liver of both naive wildtype and P2Y12R knockout mice. Liver signal appeared to be independent of both metabolism and P2Y12R expression due to the confirmation of intact tracer in this tissue for both wildtype and P2Y12R knockout mice. In Rhesus Macaque, negligible uptake of [11C]AZD1283 brain indicates a lack of potential for translation or its further investigation in vivo. P2Y12R is an extremely promising potential PET biomarker, and the data presented here suggests encouraging metabolic stability for this scaffold; however, the mechanism of liver uptake in mice should be elucidated prior to further analogue development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2022.05.001

    View details for PubMedID 35680502

  • TRACKING INNATE IMMUNE ACTIVATION IN A MOUSE MODEL OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE USING TREM1 AND TSPO PET TRACERS. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine Lucot, K. L., Stevens, M. Y., Bonham, T. A., Azevedo, E. C., Chaney, A. M., Webber, E. D., Jain, P., Klockow, J. L., Jackson, I. M., Carlson, M. L., Graves, E. E., Montine, T. J., James, M. L. 2022

    Abstract

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with aberrant innate immune responses, including microglial activation and infiltration of peripheral myeloid cells into the central nervous system (CNS). Methods to investigate innate immune activation in PD are limited and have not yet elucidated key interactions between neuroinflammation and peripheral inflammation. Translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO)-positron emission tomography (PET) is a widely evaluated imaging approach for studying activated microglia and peripheral myeloid lineage cells in vivo, however it is yet to be fully explored in PD. Herein we investigate the utility of TSPO-PET, in addition to PET imaging of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1 (TREM1) - a novel biomarker of proinflammatory myeloid cells - for detecting innate immune responses in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) mouse model of dopaminergic neuron degeneration. Methods: C57/BL6J and TREM1-knockout mice were stereotaxically injected with 6-OHDA in the left striatum; control mice were saline-injected. At day 7 or 14 post-surgery, mice were administered 18F-GE-180, 64Cu-TREM1-mAb or 64Cu-Isotype control-mAb and imaged by PET/CT. Ex vivo autoradiography (ARG) was performed to obtain high resolution images of tracer binding within the brain. Immunohistochemistry was conducted to verify myeloid cell activation and dopaminergic cell death and quantitative PCR and flow cytometry were completed to assess levels of target in the brain. Results: PET/CT images of both tracers showed elevated signal within the striatum of 6-OHDA-injected mice compared to those injected with saline. ARG afforded higher resolution brain images and revealed significant TSPO and TREM1 tracer binding within the ipsilateral striatum of 6-OHDA- compared to saline-injected mice at both 7- and 14-days post-toxin. Interestingly, 18F-GE-180 enabled detection of inflammation in the brain and peripheral tissues (blood and spleen) of 6-OHDA mice, whereas 64Cu-TREM1-mAb appeared to be more sensitive and specific for detecting neuroinflammation, in particular infiltrating myeloid cells, in these mice, as demonstrated by flow cytometry findings and higher tracer binding signal-to-background ratios in brain. Conclusion: TSPO- and TREM1-PET tracers are promising tools for investigating different cell types involved in innate immune activation in the context of dopaminergic neurodegeneration, thus warranting further investigation in other PD rodent models and human postmortem tissue to assess their clinical potential.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.121.263039

    View details for PubMedID 35177426

  • Visions by Women in Molecular Imaging Network: Antiracism and Allyship in Action. Molecular imaging and biology Akam, E., Azevedo, C., Chaney, A. M., Dhanvantari, S., Edwards, K. J., Henry, K. E., Ibhagui, O. Y., Ijoma, J. N., Ikotun, O. F., Mack, K. N., Nagle, V. L., Pereira, P. M., Purcell, M. L., Sanders, V. A., Shokeen, M., Wang, X. 2021

    Abstract

    Recent events in America in 2020 have stimulated a worldwide movement to dismantle anti-Black racism in all facets of our lives. Anti-Black racism is, as defined by the Movement for Black Lives, a "term used to specifically describe the unique discrimination, violence, and harm imposed on and impacting Black people specifically." In science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), we have yet to achieve the goal and responsibility to ensure that the field reflects the diversity of our lived experiences. Members of the Women in Molecular Imaging Network (WIMIN) have come together to take a stand on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of molecular imaging. We strongly condemn oppression in all its forms and strive to identify and dismantle barriers that lead to inequities in the molecular imaging community and STEM as a whole. In this series coined "Visions" (Antiracism and Allyship in Action), we identify and discuss specific actionable items for improving diversity and representation in molecular imaging and ensuring inclusion of all members of the community, inclusive of race, disability, ethnicity, religion, or LGBTQ+ identity. Although the issues highlighted here extend to other under-recruited and equity-seeking groups, for this first article, we are focusing on one egregious and persistent form of discrimination: anti-Black racism. In this special article, Black women residing in America present their lived experiences in the molecular imaging field and give candid insights into the challenges, frustrations, and hopes of our Black friends and colleagues. While this special article focuses on the experiences of Black women, we would like the readers to reflect on their anti-Blackness toward men, transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people. From the vulnerability we have asked of all our participants, these stories are meant to inspire and invoke active antiracist work among the readership. We present strategies for dismantling systemic racism that research centers and universities can implement in the recruitment, retention, mentorship, and development of Black trainees and professionals. We would like to specifically acknowledge the Black women who took the time to be interviewed, write perspectives, and share their lived experiences in hopes that it will inspire genuine and lasting change.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11307-021-01597-x

    View details for PubMedID 33754293

  • Hippocampal subfield imaging and fractional anisotropy show parallel changes in Alzheimer's disease tau progression using simultaneous tau-PET/MRI at 3T. Alzheimer's & dementia (Amsterdam, Netherlands) Carlson, M. L., Toueg, T. N., Khalighi, M. M., Castillo, J., Shen, B., Azevedo, E. C., DiGiacomo, P., Mouchawar, N., Chau, G., Zaharchuk, G., James, M. L., Mormino, E. C., Zeineh, M. M. 2021; 13 (1): e12218

    Abstract

    Introduction: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, characterized primarily by abnormal aggregation of two proteins, tau and amyloid beta. We assessed tau pathology and white matter connectivity changes in subfields of the hippocampus simultaneously in vivo in AD.Methods: Twenty-four subjects were scanned using simultaneous time-of-flight 18F-PI-2620 tau positron emission tomography/3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging and automated segmentation.Results: We observed extensive tau elevation in the entorhinal/perirhinal regions, intermediate tau elevation in cornu ammonis 1/subiculum, and an absence of tau elevation in the dentate gyrus, relative to controls. Diffusion tensor imaging showed parahippocampal gyral fractional anisotropy was lower in AD and mild cognitive impairment compared to controls and strongly correlated with early tau accumulation in the entorhinal and perirhinal cortices.Discussion: This study demonstrates the potential for quantifiable patterns of 18F-PI2620 binding in hippocampus subfields, accompanied by diffusion and volume metrics, to be valuable markers of AD.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dad2.12218

    View details for PubMedID 34337132

  • Visualizing innate immune activation in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease using a highly specific TREM1-PET tracer. Lucot, K., Stevens, M., Jain, P., Bonham, T., Webber, E., Klockow, J., Azevedo, E., Chaney, A., Graves, E., Montine, T., James, M. SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC. 2020
  • Visual Read Protocols for Clinicians Analyzing 18F-PI-2620 tau PET/MRI Images Koran, M., Shams, S., Adams, P., Toueg, T., Azevedo, C., Hall, J., Corso, N., Sha, S., Fredericks, C., Greicius, M., Wagner, A., Zaharchuk, G., Davidzon, G., Chin, F., Mormino, E. SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC. 2020
  • Two Patient Studies of a Companion Diagnostic Immuno-Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Tracer for Measuring Human CA6 Expression in Cancer for Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) Therapy. Molecular imaging Natarajan, A., Srinivas, S. M., Azevedo, C., Greene, L., Bauchet, A., Jouannot, E., Lacoste-Bourgeacq, A., Guizon, I., Cohen, P., Naneix, A., Ilovich, O., Cisneros, J., Rupanarayan, K., Chin, F. T., Iagaru, A., Dirbas, F. M., Karam, A., Gambhir, S. S. 2020; 19: 1536012120939398

    Abstract

    An antigen binding fragment (BFab) derived from a tumor-associated mucin 1-sialoglycotope antigen (CA6) targeting antibody (huDS6) was engineered. We synthesized a companion diagnostic positron emission tomography (PET) tracer by radiolabeling BFab with [64Cu] to measure CA6 expression on cancer tissues prior to anti-human CA6 (huDS6-DM4 antibody-drug conjugate) therapy for ovarian and breast cancer patients. After chemotherapy, the ovarian patient received PET scan with 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG: 10 mCi), followed by [64Cu]-DOTA-BFab ([64Cu]BFab; 5.5 mCi) 1 week later for PET scanning of CA6 expression and subsequent surgery. The breast cancer patient was treated with chemotherapy before primary tumor resection and subsequent [18F]FDG-PET scan. 4 weeks later the patient received of [64Cu]BFab (11.7 mCi) for CA6 PET scan. Whole body [18F]FDG-PET of the breast cancer patient indicated FDG-avid tumor metastases to the liver, bilateral hila and thoracic spine, but no uptake was observed for the ovarian patient. Each patient was also imaged by PET/CT with [64Cu]BFab at 1 and 24 hours after tracer administration. The [64Cu]BFab tracer was well tolerated by both patients without adverse effects, and no significant tracer uptake was observed in both patients. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) data indicated CA6 expressions were weak to intermediate and matched with the [64Cu]BFab-PET signals.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1536012120939398

    View details for PubMedID 33104454

  • Tau PET imaging with 18F-PI-2620 in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging Mormino, E. C., Toueg, T. N., Azevedo, C. n., Castillo, J. B., Guo, W. n., Nadiadwala, A. n., Corso, N. K., Hall, J. N., Fan, A. n., Trelle, A. N., Harrison, M. B., Hunt, M. P., Sha, S. J., Deutsch, G. n., James, M. n., Fredericks, C. A., Koran, M. E., Zeineh, M. n., Poston, K. n., Greicius, M. D., Khalighi, M. n., Davidzon, G. A., Shen, B. n., Zaharchuk, G. n., Wagner, A. D., Chin, F. T. 2020

    Abstract

    In vivo measurement of the spatial distribution of neurofibrillary tangle pathology is critical for early diagnosis and disease monitoring of Alzheimer's disease (AD).Forty-nine participants were scanned with 18F-PI-2620 PET to examine the distribution of this novel PET ligand throughout the course of AD: 36 older healthy controls (HC) (age range 61 to 86), 11 beta-amyloid+ (Aβ+) participants with cognitive impairment (CI; clinical diagnosis of either mild cognitive impairment or AD dementia, age range 57 to 86), and 2 participants with semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA, age 66 and 78). Group differences in brain regions relevant in AD (medial temporal lobe, posterior cingulate cortex, and lateral parietal cortex) were examined using standardized uptake value ratios (SUVRs) normalized to the inferior gray matter of the cerebellum.SUVRs in target regions were relatively stable 60 to 90 min post-injection, with the exception of very high binders who continued to show increases over time. Robust elevations in 18F-PI-2620 were observed between HC and Aβ+ CI across all AD regions. Within the HC group, older age was associated with subtle elevations in target regions. Mildly elevated focal uptake was observed in the anterior temporal pole in one svPPA patient.Preliminary results suggest strong differences in the medial temporal lobe and cortical regions known to be impacted in AD using 18F-PI-2620 in patients along the AD trajectory. This work confirms that 18F-PI-2620 holds promise as a tool to visualize tau aggregations in AD.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00259-020-04923-7

    View details for PubMedID 32572562

  • The characterization of 18F-hGTS13 for molecular imaging of xC- transporter activity with positron emission tomography. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine Beinat, C. n., Gowrishankar, G. n., Shen, B. n., Alam, I. S., Robinson, E. n., Haywood, T. n., Patel, C. B., Azevedo, E. C., Castillo, J. n., Ilovich, O. n., Koglin, N. n., Schmitt-Willich, H. n., Berndt, M. n., Mueller, A. n., Zerna, M. n., Srinivasan, A. n., Gambhir, S. S. 2019

    Abstract

    Purpose: The aim of this study was development of an improved positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer for measuring xC- activity with increased tumor uptake and reduced uptake in inflammatory cells compared to (S)-4-(3-18F-Fluoropropyl)-L-glutamic acid (18F-FSPG). Experimental design: A racemic glutamate derivative, 18F-hGTS13 was evaluated in cell culture and animal tumor models. 18F-hGTS13 was separated into C5-epimers and the corresponding 18F-hGTS13-isomer1 and 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 evaluated in H460 tumor bearing rats. Preliminary studies investigate the cellular uptake of 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 in multiple immune cell populations and states. Results:18F-hGTS13 demonstrated excellent H460 tumor visualization with high tumor-to-background ratios, confirmed by ex vivo biodistribution studies. Tumor associated radioactivity of 18F-hGTS13 (7.5±0.9%ID/g, n = 3) was significantly higher than with 18F-FSPG (4.6±0.7%ID/g, n = 3, P = 0.01). 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited excellent H460 tumor visualization (6.3±1.1%ID/g, n-3), and significantly reduced uptake in multiple immune cell populations relative to 18F-FSPG. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited increased liver uptake relative to 18F-FSPG (4.6±0.8%ID/g vs. 0.7±0.01%ID/g) limiting its application in hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusion:18F-hGTS13-isomer2 is a new PET radiotracer for molecular imaging of xC- activity which may provide information regarding tumor oxidation states. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 has potential for clinical translation for imaging cancers of the thorax due to the low background signal in healthy tissue.

    View details for DOI 10.2967/jnumed.119.225870

    View details for PubMedID 31171595