Going Deeper

We develop technologies to image and control the function of cells deep inside the body. These technologies take advantage of biomolecules with unusual physical properties allowing them to interact with sound waves and magnetic fields. We apply these tools to problems in synthetic biology, neuroscience, cancer, immunology and the mammalian microbiome.

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Imaging and controlling cellular function with ultrasound.
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New molecules and mechanisms for MR imaging and magnetic actuation.
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Biophysics of cellular interactions with sound waves, temperature and magnetic fields.
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Spatially, molecularly and temporally precise control of neural circuits.
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Acoustically detonated biomolecules

Congratulations to Avinoam, Atousa and colleagues on their study showing that gas vesicles can be turned into cavitating free bubbles using low frequency ultrasound, enabling their use as molecularly targeted and genetically encoded “explosives”.

Bar-Zion A, Nourmahnad A, Mittelstein DR, Yoo S, Malounda D, Abedi MH, Lee-Gosselin A, Maresca D, Shapiro MG*. Acoustically detonated biomolecules for genetically encodable inertial cavitation.
bioRxiv preprint

Biomolecular contrast agents for OCT

Congratulations to George, Dina and our collaborators at OCT Medical and UCSD on developing the first biomolecular, genetically encodable contrast agents for for optical coherence tomography based on the optical properties of gas vesicles.

Lu GJ, Chou L, Malounda D, Patel AK, Welsbie DS, Chou DL*, Ramalingam T*, Shapiro MG*. Biomolecular contrast agents for optical coherence tomography Submitted. bioRxiv preprint

X-waves for selective biomolecular ultrasound

Congratulations to David, Danny, Audrey and collaborators on their new ultrasound imaging scheme, which uses cross-propagating sound waves to obtain maximal specificity for imaging non-linear contrast agents such as gas vesicles.

Maresca D#*, Sawyer DP#, Renaud G, Lee-Gosselin A, Shapiro MG*. Nonlinear X-wave ultrasound imaging of acoustic biomolecules. Physical Review X 8, 041002 (2018).
article | synopsis

Shapiro Lab Holiday Party 2018

Thanks to all who joined to celebrate an amazing 2018 and welcome the new year! More photos.

Fifth Annual Shapiro Lab Beach Party

Shapiro Lab Beach Party #5! Oceanside, California. Thanks to all who came!

Engineering ultraparamagnetic cells

Congratulations to Pradeep, Sonjong, Hunter, Audrey, Vivek, Max, Jenny and Vasant on their new work showing that strong cellular paramagnetism is sufficient for magnetic manipulation and MRI contrast. Their genetic circuit makes bacteria “ultraparamagnetic” by oxidizing and chelating iron in a ferrogel.

Ramesh P, Hwang SJ, Davis HC, Lee-Gosselin A, Bharadwaj V, English MA, Sheng J, Iyer V, Shapiro MG*. Ultraparamagnetic cells formed through intracellular oxidation and chelation of paramagnetic iron. Angewandte Chemie 57, 12385-12389 (2018). article

Acoustically Targeted Chemogenetics (ATAC)

Congratulations to Jerzy, Brian, Audrey and Dina on developing a new technology to modulate specific parts of the brain non-invasively with a combination of spatial, genetic and temporal control using ultrasound, gene delivery and small molecule drugs – featured on the cover of Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Szablowski JO, Lue B, Lee-Gosselin A, Malounda D, Shapiro MG*. Acoustically targeted chemogenetics for the non-invasive control of neural circuits. Nature Biomedical Engineering 2, 474-484 (2018).
article | readcube | news and views | press | behind the paper

Auditory effects of ultrasonic neuromodulation

Two new articles in Neuron from Caltech (with Tomo Sato and Doris Tsao) and the University of Minnesota (led by Hongsun Guo and Hubert Lim) describe a major effect of focused ultrasound on neural circuits. Congratulations to both teams on this important step towards making focused ultrasound a mature, well-controlled tool for neuroscience.
Sato T*, Shapiro MG#*, Tsao DY#*. Ultrasonic neuromodulation causes widespread cortical activation via an indirect auditory mechanism. Neuron (2018). article | companion article

Acoustically modulated MRI

Congratulations to George, Arash, Jerzy, Audrey and colleagues on their work introducing the concept of acoustically modulated MRI contrast agents, which address one of major limitations of MRI by taking advantage of the special magnetic and acoustic properties of gas vesicles – featured on the cover of Nature Materials.

Lu GJ, Farhadi A, Szablowski JO, Lee Gosselin A, Barnes SR, Lakshmanan A, Bourdeau RW, Shapiro MG*. Acoustically modulated magnetic resonance imaging of gas-filled protein nanostructures. Nature Materials (2018).
article | readcube | news and views | press | behind the paper

Looking inside an MRI voxel

Congratulations to Hunter, Pradeep, Aadyot, Audrey and our collaborators at Harvard on a new study using NV diamond magnetometry to examine the microscale origins of MRI contrast.

Davis HC#, Ramesh P#, Bhatnagar A, Lee-Gosselin A, Barry JF, Glenn DR, Walsworth RL, Shapiro MG*. Mapping the microscale origins of MRI contrast with subcellular NV diamond magnetometry. Nature Communications 9, 131 (2018). article | press