Faculty conversations: Erik Shapiro
According to Erik Shapiro, MSU is like one giant Lego set.
“My son loves Legos and they’re usually strewn all over the floor,” Shapiro said. “MSU is a little bit like that because it has departments and research strewn across campus.”
As the associate chair of research and associate professor in the Department of Radiology, Shapiro said he makes an effort to connect the research.
Shapiro’s laboratory exists in the intersection of nanotechnology, cell biology, regenerative medicine and biomedical imaging. His laboratory has a chemistry station, a station where stem cells or immune cells are grown and a major emphasis on biomedical imaging.
“We have a focus now in doing x-ray based imaging,” Shapiro said. “It’s tremendously exciting and rewarding. It’s very interesting to go all the way from the chemistry hood straight through to complex and important biomedical questions.”
Shapiro said the ultimate goal of the research is broad.
“We have academic focuses, we have biomedical engineering focuses and we have clinical focuses,” Shapiro said. “Some of it has to be balanced between my interests in chemical engineering and physiology."
"Also, I’m in a radiology department, so there is this keen eye on if what we’re doing is going to be clinically viable, and, if not, what are the directions we can take it to enable clinical utility and translation.”
MSU has given Shapiro an opportunity to explore an area of research that would be difficult to do at other schools, he said.
“One of the things my son likes to do now, is after he builds a Lego set, he’ll take Legos from different sets and he’ll put it together, and actually makes some pretty cool spaceships and robots,” Shapiro said. “I feel like I’m doing that a little bit. I’m taking these Lego pieces from different parts of campus and I’m trying to build a very interesting research program.”
Shapiro said that it may take some effort to connect the pieces at MSU because of the university’s size, but once they are connected, amazing things can be built.