2015-03-18: Dinner Meeting with Prof. Mikhail Shapiro, Caltech

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Section Dinner Meeting

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3500 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754 

“Biomolecular Engineering for Non-Invasive Imaging of Biological Function”

Mikhail G. Shapiro, PhD,
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology

Check-in: 6:00 p.m.
Dinner: 7:00 p.m.
Presentation: 8:00 p.m.

Abstract: Many important biological processes – ranging from simple metabolism to complex cognition – take place deep inside living organisms, yet our ability to study them in this context is very limited. Technologies such as fluorescent proteins and optogenetics enable exquisitely precise imaging and control of cellular function in small, translucent specimens using visible light, but are limited by the poor penetration of such light into larger tissues. In contrast, most non-invasive technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound – while based on energy forms that penetrate tissue effectively – lack the needed molecular precision. Our work attempts to bridge this gap by engineering new molecular technologies that connect penetrant energy to specific aspects of cellular function in vivo. In this talk, I will describe molecular reporters for non-invasive imaging using MRI and ultrasound developed by adapting and engineering naturally occurring proteins. These proteins have physical properties, such as paramagnetism or self-assembly into hollow nanostructures, that allow them to be sensitively detected with MRI and ultrasound. By engineering them at the genetic level, we have adapted these natural constructs into non-invasive molecular reporters of biological processes ranging from gene expression to chemical neurotransmission.

Biography: Mikhail Shapiro is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. His research is focused on developing molecular technologies to image and control biological function non-invasively in living organisms. To achieve this goal, the Shapiro Lab adapts, evolves and engineers proteins and other biological structures into non-invasive reporters for imaging with MRI and ultrasound and control using magnetic and acoustic energy. Dr. Shapiro received his PhD in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc in Neuroscience from Brown. He conducted post-doctoral research in biophysics at the University of Chicago and was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Shapiro has been awarded the Hertz, Soros, Miller and Life Science Research Foundation fellowships, the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface and the DARPA Young Faculty Award. The Technology Review has recognized him as one of the world’s top 35 innovators under age 35. More information about the Shapiro Lab can be found online at shapirolab.caltech.edu.

Reservations: The entrée is Luminarias Chicken, double breast of chicken stuffed with asadero cheese, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, roasted poblanos and guajillo cream sauce. The cost is $34 including tax and tip, salad and dessert, cash or check at the door. Please call Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at 310 327-1216 or email office@scalacs.org by Monday, March 16th. Note: Please honor your reservation. If you make a reservation and do not attend, you may be liable for the cost of the dinner.

Directions: A map and directions are available at http://www.luminariasrestaurant.com/contact.