Dr. Savita Dhanvantari received a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Guelph, an M.Sc. in Zoology from Western University, and a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Toronto. She carried out her post-doctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD under the supervision of Dr. Y. Peng Loh.

In 2002, she joined the Lawson Health Research Institute where she is a scientist in both the Metabolism and Diabetes Program and the Imaging Program. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Western Ontario, and cross-appointed to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Professional and Academic Experience

Current Professional Roles:

  • Director, Collaborative Graduate Program in Molecular Imaging, Western University
  • Course Director, MBP 9518B “Molecular Imaging”
  • Course Director, MBP 2582B, “Imaging in Biology”
  • Chair, Lawson Internal Research Fund
  • Member, Schulich Graduate Affairs Executive, Western University
  • Member, Lawson Research Executive


  • Imaging Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University 
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (cross-appointed), Western University

Research Group

Research Interest Area 

Cell and molecular biology

Research Overview

We are identifying biomarkers for imaging the development of diabetes and heart failure. We are characterizing peptide-based agents for PET and fluorescence imaging by screening them for receptor binding and testing them in vivo for pharmacokinetic profiling. We then use lead compounds in imaging changes in receptor expression during the development of diabetes and heart failure in preclinical models. We hope that this new generation of imaging agents will be eventually used in the clinic. Additionally, we are collaborating with other investigators to image nutrient transporter expression and epigenetic changes during normal pancreatic development and during the development of diabetes.



pancreas, islet, glucagon, ghrelin, heart, PET, microscopy, biochemistry