In this exclusive video interview, Simon Cherry, professor in the department of biomedical engineering at the University of California, Davis, discusses recent progress in molecular imaging research and examines the translation of methods such as MRI/PET from the lab to the clinic.

Cherry also explains how the Cerenkov effect – a well-established physical phenomenon – is now being exploited within the medical arena. One example involves measuring the Cerenkov radiation emitted by therapeutic radionuclides to see where the therapy is being delivered. This so-called Cerenkov luminescence imaging allows sensitive in vivo monitoring of radionuclide biodistribution, which cannot be accurately measured by any other means.

On 1 January 2012, Cherry takes over as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physics in Medicine & Biology. In the final section of the interview, he shares his views on the journal's goals in the changing landscape of scientific publishing. Cherry cites opportunities such as exploiting new technologies to more effectively deliver content, and developing means to help scientists navigate the vast amount of published information.

• Look out next week for the second in our series of video reports, produced in association with physicsworld.com, examining advances in image-guided radiation therapy.