Noninvasive Control of the Nervous System

We develop new techniques for interacting with and manipulating the nervous system to better understand it, and to develop new treatment strategies.



Designing ultrasound strategies to better see and manipulate the brain and the body.
Read More


Inventing ultrasound-sensitive nanoparticles to deliver the right drug, to the right part of the body, at the right time.
Read More


Developing and clinically translating novel tools to image and intervene at the molecular level in vivo.
Read More


Using imaging and intervention to understand how the nervous system governs behavior.
Read More

Collaboration with the NIH Nanoparticle Characterization Lab

In April 2018, the NIH/NCI Nanoparticle Characterization Laboratory (NCL) accepted our propofol-loaded polymeric perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions into their characterization and testing program, which is designed to promote the clinical translation of novel nanomedicines. These propofol-loaded nanoparticles  will now undergo their rigorous in vitro and in vivo evaluation. If these particles pass the NCL assays with acceptable results, we plan to apply for an investigatory license from the FDA for first-in-human trials to complete noninvasive functional brain mapping as part of neurologic and neurosurgical evaluations.



New bioRxiv preprint on a nanoparticle platform for ultrasonic drug uncaging

Congrats Qian and Jason! Their manuscript entitled “Polymeric perfluoropentane nanoemulsions are a versatile platform for ultrasonic drug uncaging” is currently available on the preprint server bioRxiv at

This work developed polymeric perfluoropentane nanoemulsion as a generalized platform for localized ultrasonic drug delivery. They showed that this nanotechnology platform can be used to encapsulate most hydrophobic drugs. Their nanoemulsions have shown excellent ultrasound responsiveness and bioeffects for a wide variety of drugs, and demonstrated a stability that yields high potential for clinical translation for noninvasive ultrasonic drug uncaging in the brain and body.

Raag Received an ASCI 2018 Young Physician-Scientist Award!

Dr. Raag Airan, an Assistant Professor of Radiology (Neuroradiology), has received the American Society for Clinical Investigation 2018 Young Physician-Scientist Award. He will present his research at the AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, April 20-22.

The ASCI Council Young Physician-Scientist Award recognizes physician-scientists who are early in their first faculty appointment and have made notable achievements in their research. With these awards, the ASCI seeks to encourage and inspire these physician-scientists through their participation in the Joint Meeting.

Congratulations, Dr. Airan!

Congratulations to Muna for winning a prestigious Stanford SCIT fellowship!

Dr. Muna Aryal has been named as a recipient of a Stanford SCIT fellowship! This is a prestigious training program for postdoctoral fellows working on novel and interdisciplinary solutions for cancer imaging. For her project, Muna will work collaboratively between the Dahl and Airan labs to develop a fusion of focused ultrasound, passive acoustic imaging (PAI), and PET imaging to determine a method to calibrate the degree of in vivo ultrasonic drug uncaging using nanodroplets. She will then apply this method in a large animal model, as a prerequisite to clinical translation. This work will build on her already amazing work on quantifying the efficacy of ultrasonic drug uncaging in small animals, and her PhD thesis work on ultrasound-mediated blood brain barrier opening for drug delivery.

Congratulations Muna!!

More information can be found here:

Our work on ultrasonic neuromodulation was just profiled in Nature!

Our work on using ultrasonic drug uncaging to enable neuromodulation was just profiled in Nature.

Check it out!


Raag is the Finalist for the Science-PINS Prize for Neuromodulation!!

Some of our work on noninvasive neuromodulation and our nanoparticles was just featured in Science. You can read the article here. For this essay, Raag was awarded as the Finalist for the Science and PINS prize for neuromodulation.

Raag will soon head to Beijing and Jinan in China to receive this prize and present at Tsinghua University and the 8th Neuromodulation Congress.

Congratulations Raag!


The Airan Lab is recruiting!

We are looking for bright and motivated postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates to join our group! Please see our recent postdoc announcement. Interested postdoc candidates, potential graduate rotation students, and motivated undergraduates should send inquiries to rairan -at-

Ultrasound-Mediated Drug Delivery Featured in the Press

Recently, our work on noninvasive neuromodulation using focused ultrasound-mediated drug delivery has been published in Nano Letters! You can also read about our work in a couple of nice write-ups in the popular press – for instance at Futurity and NanoTechWeb. Please stay tuned for more!