Dr. Mikhail Shapiro Receives 2018 Roger Tsien Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology at the 2018 World Molecular Imaging Congress

Dr. Shapiro has made advanced contributions to the molecular imaging field in the field of chemical biology, synthetic biology and reporter genes.

CULVER CITY, CA., September 27, 2018 – The World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS) named Dr. Mikhail Shapiro, PhD, California Institute of Technology, as the recipient of the 2018 Roger Tsien Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology for making significant contributions to the field of molecular imaging in the area of chemical biology. This includes the creation and/or use of novel chemistries to probe biological systems using noninvasive imaging approaches.

Dr. Shapiro is an Assistant Professor, Heritage Principal Investigator and Schlinger Scholar, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology.

“As a young investigator, Dr. Shapiro has already accomplished a lot, and created his own unique niche of research that is changing the whole field of Synthetic Biology,” said WMIS Fellow Dr. Anna Moore, PhD, Michigan State University. “As such, Dr. Shapiro has pioneered the development of acoustic and magnetic biomolecules that allow cells to be imaged and controlled deep inside the body using magnetic fields and sound waves. This technology makes it possible to study cellular function in intact organisms and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration.”

Some of his recent research accomplishments and key publications include his work in acoustic biomolecules – which will help highlight and control cellular functions (Nature 553:86-90, 2018). He and his team have also developed new categories of biomolecular reporters for MRI (Nature Communications 7:13891, 2016 and Nature Materials 17:456-63, 2018).

In addition to developing technologies for cellular imaging, he is pioneering the use of ultrasound to remote-control engineered cells inside the body by developing thermal bioswitches allowing microbes to be programmed to respond to small changes in temperature, enabling focused ultrasound to remotely control their function in vivo with millimeter spatial precision (Nature Chemical Biology 13:75, 2017), and developing methods that use ultrasound to control neural circuits (Nature Biomedical Engineering 2:475-84, 2018).

“Receiving this recognition from my deeply respected colleagues in the molecular imaging community is an unbelievable honor, and doubly so for an award named after my scientific hero, Roger Tsien,” said Dr. Mikhail Shapiro, PhD, California Institute of Technology. “Although our work is still at a very early stage, I am really excited about the possibilities we have to change the way scientists and doctors interact with cells in our bodies.”

“When choosing a recipient for this award, we carefully evaluate each nominee as a committee and heavily consider each candidate’s scientific accolades as well as their overall contributions and to the molecular imaging community,” said Dr. Sanjiv (Sam) Gambhir, MD, PhD, WMIS Past President & Fellow, Chair of Awards Committee. “Dr. Shapiro has additionally shown significant leadership traits and has the potential to take the next generation of molecular imaging scientists to the next level of imaging biology at a cellular level to ultimately improve therapy in the clinic.”


The WMIS is dedicated to developing and promoting translational research through multimodality molecular imaging. The education and abstract-driven WMIC is the annual meeting of the WMIS and provides a unique setting for scientists and clinicians with very diverse backgrounds to interact, present, and follow cutting-edge advances in the rapidly expanding field of molecular imaging that impacts nearly every biomedical discipline. Industry exhibits at the congress included corporations who have created the latest advances in preclinical and clinical imaging approaches and equipment, providing a complete molecular imaging educational technology showcase. For more information: www.wmis.org

To follow up with Mikhail Shapiro or learn more about his lab at Caltech, please click here.


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