My laboratory develops molecular technologies to enable the imaging and control of cellular function deep inside living organisms. Such technologies are needed to study basic biological processes within the context of intact tissues and organs, and to facilitate the development of cellular diagnostic and therapeutic agents. To accomplish these goals, my lab engineers proteins and other genetically encodable materials that interact with sound waves and magnetic fields, thereby allowing cells to be visualized and manipulated with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. A recent example of this approach involves adapting gas-filled protein nanostructures from buoyant photosynthetic bacteria as acoustic reporter genes to image probiotic microbes inside mammalian hosts. In addition, my lab develops methods to use ultrasound, alone or in combination with molecular tools, to modulate the activity of specific neural circuits.

Awards and Achievements

  • Pew Scholar
  • Sontag Distinguished Scientist
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar
  • DARPA Director's Fellow