Erik M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

Erik M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

Associate Chair of Research

Associate Professor

Department of Radiology


Radiology Building
846 Service Rd Rm 184


Biomedical Physical Sciences Building
567 Wilson Rd Rm 3105

College Degrees: 

B.S.: Chemistry, State University of New York at Binghamton
M.S.: Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D.: Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania

Post-doc: Molecular Imaging, National Institutes of Health


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



NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, 2008
Yale University Medical School Clinical and Translational Science Award, 2007
Kingsley Fellowship in Medical Research, 2006-2008
Young Investigator’s Award Finalist, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), 2005
NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, 2004
Finalist, Wharton Business Plan Competition, 2001
Young Investigator’s Award Winner, Osteoarthritis Research Society International, 2000
Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Honor Society, President, 1996-1997.


Selected Publications:

  1. Roach, D.R., Garrett, W.M., Welch, G., Caperna, T.J., Talbot, N.C., Shapiro, E.M., Magnetic Cell Labeling of Primary and Stem Cell-Derived Pig Hepatocytes for MRI-Based Cell Tracking of Hepatocyte Transplantation, PLOS One, in press (2015).
  2. Shapiro, E.M., Biodegradable, polymer encapsulated, metal oxide particles for MRI-based cell tracking, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 73(1) 376-389 (2015).
  3. Swy, E.R., Schwartz-Duval, A.S., Shuboni, D.D., Latourette, M.T., Mallett, C.L., Parys, M., Cormode, D.P., Shapiro, E.M., Dual-modality, fluorescent, PLGA encapsulated bismuth nanoparticles for molecular and cellular fluorescence imaging and computed tomography, Nanoscale, 6(21) 13104-13112 (2014).
  4. 1. 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).
  5. 2. 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).

PubMed Search


Other Departmental/Program Affiliations:  

MSU Neuroscience program
MSU Physiology department
MSU Chemical Engineering department
MSU Molecular and Cellular MRI Laboratory Facebook page