Heather M. Hennkens
Assistant Professor
Chemistry 105 & MURR TOB4 230K-5


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Missouri, 2009
  • Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis, 2004
  • M.A., Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis, 1998
  • B.S., Chemistry, Lindenwood University, 1996
  • B.A., Spanish, Lindenwood University, 1996

Professional Experience:

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Research Reactor Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 2019-present
  • Assistant Research Professor, Research Reactor Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 2011-2019
  • Staff Scientist – Study Director/Principal Investigator (2009-2011), Chemist – Team Leader and Study Director/Principal Investigator (2011), Bioanalytical Services, ABC Laboratories, Inc., Columbia, MO, 2009-2011
  • Life Sciences (2004-2006) and NIH/NCI (2006-2009) Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, 2004-2009
  • Adjunct Instructor, Department of Chemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 2004
  • Staff Scientist, Division of Radiological Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 2000-2001

Honors and Awards:

  • Fuldner Faculty Fellow, MU Department of Chemistry, 2021

Research Emphasis: 

The primary focus areas of the Hennkens research program are 1) the production and purification of medical radionuclides and 2) their use in the development of theranostic (combination therapeutic and diagnostic) metals-based radiopharmaceuticals.  Radionuclide production projects involve targetry, separations and target material recycling, while radiopharmaceutical projects involve ligand development, metal/radiometal chelation, and the radiochemical synthesis and in vitro/vivo evaluation of new radiopharmaceuticals.  The multidisciplinary nature of these projects results in a collaborative environment that offers a wide range of research experiences to student and postdoctoral trainees.

Select Publications

Full publication list available at this link.

Olson, A. P.; Ma, L.; Feng, Y.; Khosrashahi, F. N.; Kelley, S. P.; Aluicio-Sarudy, E.; Barnhart; T. E.; Hennkens, H. M.; Ellison, P. A.; Jurisson, S. S.; Engle, J. W.  A Third Generation Potentially Bifunctional Trithiol Chelate, Its nat,1XXSb(III) Complex, and Selective Chelation of Radioantimony (119Sb) from Its Sn Target. Inorg. Chem. 60, 15223-15232, 2021. doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c01690

Shegani, A.; Ischyropoulou, M.; Roupa, I.; Kiritsis, C.; Makrypidi, K.; Papasavva, A.; Raptopoulou, C.; Psycharis, V.; Hennkens, H. M.; Pelecanou, M.; Papadopoulos, M. S.; Pirmettis, I.  Synthesis and Evaluation of New Mixed “2+1” Re, 99mTc, and 186Re Tricarbonyl Dithiocarbamate Complexes with Different Monodentate Ligands. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 47, 116373, 2021. doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2021.116373

Okoye, N. C.; Phelps, T. E.; Charles, A.; McCormick, J. B.; Wycoff, D. E.; Lydon, J. D.; Embree, M. F.; Guthrie, J.; Kelley, S. P.; Barnes, C. L.; Ketring, A. R.; Hennkens, H. M.; Jurisson, S. S.  Recovery, Recycling and Re-irradiation of Enriched 104Ru Metal Targets for Cost Effective Production of 105Rh. Appl. Radiat. Isot. 176, 109847, 2021. doi.org/10.1016/j.apradiso.2021.109847

Makris, G.; Shegani, A.; Kankanamalage, P. H. A.; Kuchuk, M.; Bandari, R. P.; Smith, C. J.; Hennkens, H. M.  Preclinical Evaluation of Novel 64Cu-Labeled Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Receptor Bioconjugates for PET Imaging of Prostate Cancer. Bioconjugate Chem. 32(7), 1290-1297, 2021. Published within the special issue “State-of-the-Art of Radiometal-Based Bioconjugates for Molecular Imaging and Radiotherapy”. doi.org/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.0c00656

Khosroshahi, F. N.; Feng, Y.; Ma, L.; Manring, S.; Rold, T. L.; Gallazzi, F. A.; Kelley, S. P.; Embree, M. F.; Hennkens, H. M.; Hoffman, T. J.; Jurisson, S. S.  A New, Second Generation Trithiol Bifunctional Chelate for 72,77As: Trithiol(b)-(Ser)2-RM2. Bioconjugate Chem. 32(7), 1364-1373, 2021. Published within the special issue “State-of-the-Art of Radiometal-Based Bioconjugates for Molecular Imaging and Radiotherapy”. doi.org/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.0c00658

Wang, J.; Makris, G.; Kuchuk, M.; Radford, L.; Gallazzi, F.; Lewis, M. R.; Jurisson, S. S.; Hennkens, H. M.  Direct Labeling of a Somatostatin Receptor Antagonist via Peptide Cyclization with Re, 99mTc and 186Re Metal Centers: Radiochemistry and In Vitro Evaluation. Nucl. Med. Biol., 94-95, 46-52, 2021. doi.org/10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2020.12.007

Makris, G.; Bandari, R. P.; Kuchuk, M.; Jurisson, S. S.; Smith, C. J.; Hennkens, H. M.  Development and Preclinical Evaluation of 99mTc- and 186Re-Labeled NOTA and NODAGA Bioconjugates Demonstrating Matched Pair Targeting of GRPR-Expressing Tumors. Mol. Imaging Biol. 23(1), 52-61, 2021.  doi.org/10.1007/s11307-020-01537-1

Okoye, N. C.; Baumeister, J.; Najafi F.; Hennkens, H. M.; Jurisson, S. S.  Chelators and Metal Complex Stability for Radiopharmaceutical Applications. Radiochim. Acta 107(9-11), 1087-1120, 2019. Invited review within the special issue "International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements 2019". doi.org/10.1515/ract-2018-3090

Makris, G.; Kuchuk, M.; Gallazzi, F.; Jurisson, S. S.; Smith, C. J.; Hennkens, H. M.  Somatostatin Receptor Targeting with Hydrophilic [99mTc/186Re]Tc/Re-Tricarbonyl NODAGA and NOTA Complexes. Nucl. Med. Biol. 71, 39-46, 2019. doi.org/10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2019.04.004

Radford, L. L.; Papagiannopoulou, D.; Gallazzi, F.; Berendzen, A.; Watkinson, L.; Carmack, T.; Lewis, M. R.; Jurisson, S. S.; Hennkens, H. M.  Synthesis and Evaluation of Re/99mTc(I) Complexes Bearing a Somatostatin Receptor-Targeting Antagonist and Labeled via a Novel [N,S,O] Clickable Bifunctional Chelating Agent. Bioorg. Med. Chem., 27, 492-501, 2019. doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2018.12.028

Makris, G.; Radford, L. L.; Kuchuk, M.; Gallazzi, F.; Jurisson, S. S.; Smith, C. J.; Hennkens, H. M.  NOTA and NODAGA 99mTc/186Re-Tricarbonyl Complexes: Radiochemistry and First Example of a 99mTc-NODAGA Somatostatin Receptor-Targeting Bioconjugate. Bioconjugate Chem. 29(12), 4040-4049, 2018. doi:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.8b00670

Black, K. C. L.; Zhou, M.; Sarder, P.; Kuchuk, M.; Al-Yasiri, A. Y; Gunsten, S. P.; Liang, K.; Hennkens, H. M.; Akers, W. J.; Laforest, R.; Brody, S. L.; Cutler, C. S.; Achilefu, S.  Dual-Radiolabeled Nanoparticle Probes for Depth-Independent In Vivo Imaging of Enzyme Activation. Proc. SPIE 10508, 1050805 1-5, 2018. doi: 10.1117/12.2301033

Feng, Y.; Phelps, T. E.; Carroll, V.; Gallazzi, F.; Sieckman, G.; Hoffman, T. J.; Barnes, C. L.; Ketring, A. R.; Hennkens, H. M.; Jurisson, S. S.  Chemistry and Radiochemistry of Arsenic, Rhenium and Rhodium Isotopes Relevant to Radiopharmaceutical Applications: Development of High Specific Activity Radionuclides for Imaging and Treatment. Dalton Trans. 46, 14677-14690, 2017. doi:10.1039/c7dt02407j

Mastren, T.; Radchenko, V.; Bach, H. T.; Balkin, E. R.; Birnbaum, E. R.; Brugh, M.; Engle, J. W.; Gott, M. D.; Guthrie, J.; Hennkens, H. M.; John, K. D.; Ketring, A. R.; Kuchuk, M.; Maassen, J. R.; Naranjo, C. M.; Nortier, F. M.; Phelps, T. E.; Jurisson, S. S.; Wilbur, D. S.; Fassbender, M. E.  Bulk Production and Evaluation of High Specific Activity 186gRe for Cancer Therapy Using Enriched 186WO3 Targets in a Proton Beam. Nucl. Med. Biol. 49, 24-29, 2017. doi.org/10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2017.02.006

Radford, L.; Gallazzi, F.; Watkinson, L.; Carmack, T.; Berendzen, A.; Lewis, M. R.; Jurisson, S. S.; Papagiannopoulou, D.; Hennkens, H. M.  Synthesis and Evaluation of a 99mTc Tricarbonyl-Labeled Somatostatin Receptor-Targeting Antagonist Peptide for Imaging of Neuroendocrine Tumors. Nucl. Med. Biol. 47, 4-9, 2017. doi.org/10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2016.12.002

Li, Y.; Ma, L.; Gaddam, V.; Gallazzi, F.; Hennkens, H. M.; Harmata, M.; Lewis, M. R.; Deakyne, C. A.; Jurisson, S. S.  Synthesis, Characterization, and In Vitro Evaluation of New 99mTc/Re(V)-Cyclized Octreotide Analogues: An Experimental and Computational Approach. Inorg. Chem. 55, 1124-1133, 2016. doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b02306

Makris, G.; Radford, L.; Gallazzi, F.; Jurisson, S. S.; Hennkens, H. M.; Papagiannopoulou, D.  Synthesis and Evaluation of fac-[99mTc/Re(CO)3]+ Complexes with a New (N,S,N) Bifunctional Chelating Agent: The First Example of a fac-[Re(CO)3(N,S,N-sst2-ANT)] Complex Bearing a Somatostatin Receptor Antagonist Peptide. J. Organomet. Chem. 805, 100-107, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.jorganchem.2016.01.005