Erik Shapiro, Ph.D.

Research Interests
The research emphasis of the Molecular and Cellular Imagiong 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. Molecular and cellular imaging allows scientists and doctors to move past simple anatomic imaging, enabling the observation and measurement of metabolic, physiological and functional processes in living subjects, non-invasively. Working at the intersection of chemistry, physics and biology, my laboratory has three main cores. The first is the development of novel nanoparticle contrast agents. For MRI, the focus is the construction of high relaxivity superparamagnetic nano- and micro-particles whose MRI properties can be made sensitive to various stimuli, gene expression, for example. For CT, the intent is to efficiently deliver large payloads of high-z metals such as bismuth, gold or gadolinium in a safe polymer construct. The second core is the use of molecular and cellular imaging for monitoring cell migration. Cells can be loaded with MRI contrast agents and observed using tailored experimental conditions. This can be accomplished both in transplant models and in the detection of endogenous cells, with the ability to detect single cells, in vivo. The third focus of the laboratory is the use of targeted contrast agents to detect specific molecular epitopes. The strategy here is to selectively target contrast agents to precise tissues or cells of interest by way of antibody- or receptor-mediated affinity. This could be particularly useful in detecting cancer and for identifying unique cellular populations.

Current projects under investigation or of interest in the laboratory are:
1. Dynamism of immune cells in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and stroke
2. Monitoring and modulating the migration of endogenous neuronal progenitor cells during neurogenesis and in cancer
3. Developing the use of mesenchymal stem cells for immune modulation
4. Translational MRI of hepatocyte transplantation in swine
5. MRI/CT detection and treatment of ovarian cancer stem cells
6. Stimuli responsive metallic nanomaterials for molecular and cellular imaging
7. Clinically viable magnetic particles for MRI-based cell tracking

Selected Publications
Granot, D., Shapiro, E.M., Accumulation of Micron Sized Iron Oxide Particles (MPIOs) in Endothelin-1 Induced Focal Cortical Ischemia in Rats is Independent of Cell Migration, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, in press (2013).

Granot, D., Nkansah, M.K., Bennewitz, M.F., Tang, K.S., Markakis, E.A., Shapiro, E.M., Clinically viable magnetic poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) particles for MRI-based cell tracking, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, in press (2013).

Bennewitz, M.F., Tang, K.S., Markakis, E.A., Shapiro, E.M., Specific chemotaxis of magnetically labeled mesenchymal stem cells: Implications for MRI of glioma, Molecular Imaging and Biology, 14(6) 676-687 (2012).

Tang, K.S., Hann, B., Shapiro, E.M., On the use of micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIOS) to label resting monocytes in bone marrow, Molecular Imaging and Biology, 13(5) 819-824 (2011).

Granot, D., Scheinost, D., Markakis, E.A., Papademetris, X., Shapiro, E.M., Serial Monitoring of Endogenous Neuroblast Migration by Cellular MRI, Neuroimage, 57(3) 817-24 (2011).

Granot, D., Shapiro, E.M., Release Activation of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (REACTION): A novel environmentally sensitive MRI paradigm, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 65(5) 1253-1259 (2011).

JuanYin, J., Tracy, K., Zhang, L., Munasinghe, J., Shapiro, E., Koretsky, A., Kelly, K., Noninvasive imaging of the functional effects of anti-VEGF therapy on tumor cell extravasation and regional blood volume in an experimental brain metastasis model, Clin Exp Metastasis, 26(5) 403-414 (2009).

Shapiro, E.M., Medford-Davis, L.N., Fahmy, T.,  Dunbar, C.E., Koretsky, A.P., Antibody-mediated cell labeling of peripheral T cells with micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIOs) allows single cell detection by MRI, Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging, 2(3), 147-153 (2007).

Shapiro, E.M., Gonzalez-Perez, O., Manuela Garcia-Verdugo, Alvarez-Buylla, A., Koretsky, A.P., Magnetic resonance imaging of the migration of neuronal precursors generated in the adult rodent brain, Neuroimage, 32(3), 1150-1157 (2006).

Shapiro, E.M., Skrtic, S., Sharer, K., Hill, J.M., Dunbar, C.E., Koretsky, A.P., MRI detection of single particles for molecular and cellular imaging, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 191(30), 10901-10906(2004).