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Mikhail Shapiro is developing tools and techniques for imaging and controlling cellular function deep inside living organisms. Specifically, Shapiro and his team are engineering biomolecules that facilitate cellular imaging and control via ultrasound, an acoustic technology historically lacking the ability to interact with specific cells. The team’s work is enabled by their discovery that an unusual class of air-filled proteins derived from buoyant microbes can scatter sound waves, enabling them to serve as acoustic reporter genes and biosensors. In parallel, they have developed acoustic actuators allowing focused ultrasound to remotely control gene expression and other cellular functions in vivo. This work has implications for biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics.