Assaf Gilad


Assaf Gilad



MSU Departments

  • Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences (Primary)
  • Radiology
  • Neuroscience

Dr. Assaf Gilad is a Professor of Chemical Engineering & Material Sciences and Radiology at Michigan State University. The overarching theme of his research program is to harnesses the intersection of medical imaging and synthetic biology to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Specifically, he works to develop novel genetically encoded and nanoparticles biosensors for both brain imaging and neuromodulation. He received a B.A. (1996) from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and M.Sc., (1999) and Ph.D. (2004) in Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (advisor: Prof. Michal Neeman). He spent three years conducting postdoctoral research in the Department of Radiology at JHU (advisors: Profs. Peter van Zijl and Jeff Bulte). In 2007 he joined the Radiology department as a faculty member and moved to MSU in 2017.

Current Research Focuses

  • Constructing Synthetic Biology circuits in prokaryotic and mammalian (stem) cells.
  • Characterizing the structure and function of electromagnetic perceptive genes.
  • Developing genetically encoded reporters for MRI.
  • Constructing genetically encoded indicators for neurotransmitters.
  • Engineering novel artificial signaling pathways.
  • Magnetobiomanipulation.
  • Protein evolution and engineering.
  • Biological computers.


  • Health
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Imaging

Research Area
Ph.D. Life sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 2003
M.Sc. Life sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 1999
B.A. Biology, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Haifa, Israel 1996
Gross S, Gilead A, Scherz A, Neeman M, Salomon Y. Nature Medicine. 2003 (10):1327-31.
Gilad AA, McMahon MT, Walczak P, Winnard PT Jr, Raman V, van Laarhoven HW, Skoglund CM, Bulte JW, van Zijl PC. Nature Biotechnology. 2007 ;25(2):217-9.
Kim T, Momin E, Choi J, Yuan K, Zaidi H, Kim J, Park M, Lee N, McMahon MT, Quinones-Hinojosa A, Bulte JW, Hyeon T, Gilad AA. J Am Chem Soc. 2011 ;133(9):2955-61.
Liu G, Liang Y, Bar-Shir A, Chan KW, Galpoththawela CS, Bernard SM, Tse T, Yadav NN, Walczak P, McMahon MT, Bulte JW, van Zijl PC, Gilad AA. J Am Chem Soc. 2011 ;133(41):16326-9.
Bar-Shir A, Liu G, Liang Y, Yadav NN, McMahon MT, Walczak P, Nimmagadda SR, Pomper MG, Tallman KA, Greenberg MM, van Zijl PC, Bulte JW, Gilad AA. Transforming thymidine into a magnetic resonance imaging probe for monitoring gene expression. J Am Chem Soc. 2013. 135, 1617-24. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23289583.
Bar-Shir A, Liu G, Greenberg MM, Bulte JW, Gilad AA. Synthesis of a probe for monitoring HSV1-tk reporter gene expression using chemical exchange saturation transfer MRI. Nature Protocols. 2013 Dec;8(12):2380-91. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.140. Epub 2013 Oct 31. PubMed PMID: 24177294.