ACM NanoCom 2019

Keynote Speakers

Keynote 1: Metamaterials to Manipulate and Process Light at the Nanoscale
Andrea Alù

Andrea Alù

Founding Director and Einstein Professor
Photonics Initiative, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
City College of New York
New York, NY 10031, USA

In this talk, I discuss our recent research activity in nano-optics, electromagnetics, quantum optics and acoustics, showing how suitably tailored meta-atoms and suitable arrangements of them open exciting venues to realize optical nanocircuits for light, radio-waves and sound, efficient in manipulating, controlling and processing light at the nanoscale. I will discuss in particular how engineered nanostructures and metasurfaces may be able to realize optical signal processing in the analog domain, route non-reciprocally signals breaking Lorentz reciprocity, and realize isolation without the need of magnetic bias. Our approaches are based on dispersion engineering, leveraging coupled resonances, spatio-temporal modulation, and/or large nonlinearities in coupled resonator systems, enabling low-energy computing metasurfaces, magnetic-free circulators, isolators and non-reciprocal antennas, emitters and absorbers breaking Kirchhoff’s law, self-induced isolation for high-intensities triggered by nonlinearities, and a new generation of topological insulators for light and sound. In the talk, I will also discuss the impact of these concepts from basic science to practical technology from classical light to quantum optics and computing.

Short Biography

Andrea Alù is the Founding Director and Einstein Professor at the Photonics Initiative, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. He received his Laurea (2001) and PhD (2007) from the University of Roma Tre, Italy, and, after a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, where he was the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor until Jan. 2018. Dr. Alù is a Fellow of IEEE, OSA, SPIE and APS, and has received several scientific awards, including the ICO Prize in Optics (2016), the NSF Alan T. Waterman award (2015), the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal (2013), and the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal (2011).

Keynote 2: Talking to Cells: Biomolecular Engineering for Non-Invasive Imaging and Control of Cellular Function
Mikhail G. Shapiro

Mikhail G. Shapiro

Professor of Chemical Engineering
Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

The study of biological function in intact organisms and the development of targeted cellular therapeutics necessitate methods to image and control cellular function in vivo. Technologies such as fluorescent proteins and optogenetics serve this purpose in small, translucent specimens, but are limited by the poor penetration of light into deeper tissues. In contrast, most non-invasive techniques such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging – while based on energy forms that penetrate tissue effectively – are not effectively coupled to cellular function. Our work attempts to bridge this gap by engineering biomolecules with the appropriate physical properties to interact with magnetic fields and sound waves. In this talk, I will describe our recent development of biomolecular reporters and actuators for ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. The reporters are based on a unique class of gas-filled protein nanostructures from buoyant photosynthetic microbes. These proteins produce nonlinear scattering of sound waves, enabling their detection with ultrasound, and perturb magnetic fields, allowing their detection with MRI. I will describe our recent progress in understanding the biophysical and acoustic properties of these biomolecules, engineering their mechanics and targeting at the genetic level, developing methods to enhance their detection in vivo and expressing them heterologously as reporter genes. Our actuators are based on temperature-dependent transcriptional repressors, which provide switch-like control of bacterial gene expression in response to small changes in temperature. We have genetically tuned these repressors to activate at thresholds within the biomedically relevant range of 32ºC to 46ºC, and constructed genetic logic circuits to connect thermal signals to various cellular functions. This allows us to use focused ultrasound to remote-control engineered bacterial cells in vivo. In addition, we have used ultrasound in combination with viral vectors and engineered receptors to provide spatially and cell-type specific non-invasive control over neural activity.

Short Biography

Mikhail Shapiro is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and an Investigator of the Heritage Medical Research Institute at Caltech. The Shapiro laboratory develops biomolecular technologies allowing cells to be imaged and controlled inside the body using sound waves and magnetic fields to enable the study of biological function in vivo and the development of cell-based diagnostic and therapeutic agents. Mikhail received his PhD in Biological Engineering from MIT and his BSc in Neuroscience from Brown, and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Miller Fellow. Mikhail’s awards include the Packard Fellowship, the Pew Scholarship, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface, the DARPA Young Faculty Award and Director’s Fellowship, the Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award, the Roger Tsien Award for Excellence in Chemical Biology, the Vilcek Prize and the Technology Review TR35 award for top innovators under age 35. More information about the Shapiro Lab can be found online at

Keynote 3: Electromagnetic-Biological Interface
Assaf A. Gilad

Assaf A. Gilad

Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology
Chief, Division of Synthetic Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Short Biography

Dr. Assaf Gilad is a biologist by training with extensive background in MRI. He is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology. He is also the Chief of the Division of Synthetic Biology and Regenerative Medicine in the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering (IQ) at Michigan State University. Until August 2017, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. The overarching theme of Dr. Gilad’s research program harnesses the intersection of radiology and molecular biology to develop new in vivo imaging technologies that can be used to tackle fundamental biological questions. Specifically, he works to develop novel genetically encoded nanoparticle biosensors for both MRI detection and neuromodulation. He received a B.A. (1996) from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and M.Sc., (1999) and Ph.D. (2004) in Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (advisor: Prof. Michal Neeman). He spent three years conducting postdoctoral research in the Department of Radiology at JHU (advisors: Profs. Peter van Zijl and Jeff Bulte). In 2007, he joined the Department of Radiology at JHU as a faculty member. His accomplishments include developing novel biosensors (genetically encoded reporters and nanoparticles) by combining cutting edge molecular and synthetic biology tools with advanced biomedical imaging technologies, publishing 75 peer reviewed scientific papers, and co-inventorship of 7 patents.

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