440216 Imaging Approaches to Study and Manipulate Neural Behavior

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: 12:40 PM
Ballroom A/C (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Mikhail G. Shapiro, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Laboratory for Non-Invasive Biological Interfaces

Many of today’s biggest questions in areas such as neuroscience, cancer and immunology concern the function of specific cells and molecules deep inside living organisms.  Yet, our ability to study biological function within this critical in vivo context is currently limited by the lack of suitable imaging technologies. While optical imaging using fluorescent reporters such as the green fluorescent protein (GFP) enables exquisite observation of molecular and cellular events in microscopic specimens, it has limited penetration into intact organisms. Meanwhile, non-invasive technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, although capable of imaging deep tissues with high spatial and temporal resolution, currently lack sensitive molecular imaging agents analogous to GFP. If such agents could be developed, they would transform many areas of biomedicine by enabling the observation of dynamic cellular processes in living, breathing animals and, ultimately, patients.

To develop breakthrough technologies for non-invasive biomedical imaging, the Shapiro Laboratory pursues fundamental advances at the interface of molecular and cellular engineering with deeply penetrant forms of energy such as magnetic fields and sound waves.  We have shown that molecules ranging from paramagnetic proteins to hollow protein nanostructures can be readily detected with MRI and/or ultrasound, and are now developing these molecules as non-invasive imaging agents of neural activity, brain injury and cancer. In parallel, we are developing technologies that allow specific cellular functions to be activated remotely using sound waves. These technologies are expected to contribute to the study of basic biological function and disease, and to form the basis of future medical approaches to diagnosis and personalized therapy.

More information about the Shapiro Lab at Caltech is online at http://shapirolab.caltech.edu.

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See more of this Session: Understanding the Brain: A Chemical Engineering Perspective
See more of this Group/Topical: Liaison Functions