Erik M. Shapiro

Associate Professor



The research emphasis of the Molecular and Cellular Imaging Laboratory (MCIL) is generally focused on developing and using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) for molecular and cellular imaging of biological phenomena, regenerative medicine and early detection of disease. Working at the intersection of chemistry, physics and biology, my laboratory has four main chemical engineering cores. The first is the development of novel clinically viable nanoparticle contrast agents for MRI. The second focus is the development of high relaxivity superparamagnetic nano- and micro-particles whose MRI properties can be made sensitive to various stimuli, gene expression, for example. The third focus revolves around the creation of CT active nanomaterials with the capability to efficiently deliver large payloads of high-z metals such as bismuth, gold or gadolinium in a safe polymer construct. The fourth core is the development of targeted nano-theranostics. The strategy here is to selectively target nanomaterials containing both imaging agents and medicinal components to precise tissues or cells of interest by way of antibody- or receptor-mediated affinity.