Cells at the blast site die immediately. Cells one ring away die slowly. And cells farther away are changed only temporarily. Venugopalan's students study the post-blast response of those injured cells to develop new medical and surgical techniques. For instance, they are researching how neurons respond to injury—work that may some day lead to a better treatment for spinal cord injuries. Other students study the effects of lasers on cellular permeability. The shock waves from a blast create tiny but healable holes in the membranes of cells outside the central target area, potentially indicating a new mechanism for direct drug delivery.