Bellamkonda Lab

    Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory













  • About Us

    Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory

    Prof. Ravi Bellamkonda 

    The Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering

    Ravi Bellamkonda is the Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Prior to becoming dean, Bellamkonda served as the Wallace H. Coulter Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He is committed to fostering transformative research and pedagogical innovation as well as programs that create an entrepreneurial mindset amongst faculty and students.


    A trained bioengineer and neuroscientist, Bellamkonda holds an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. His graduate training at Brown University was in biomaterials and medical science (with Patrick Aebischer), and his post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on the molecular mechanisms of axon guidance and neural development (with Jerry Schneider and Sonal Jhaveri). His current research explores the interplay of biomaterials and the nervous system for neural interfaces, nerve repair and brain tumor therapy.


    From 2014 to 2016, Bellamkonda served as president of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (AIMBE), the leading policy and advocacy organization for biomedical engineers with representation from industry, academia and government. Bellamkonda’s numerous awards include the Clemson Award for Applied Research from the Society for Biomaterials, EUREKA award from National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health), CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and Best Professor Award from the Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering student body.

  • Our Research

    Specific projects/areas of active research in the Bellamkonda lab include:

    Developing Brain Cancer Therapies

    Using nanocarrier encapsulation of drugs efficacious treatments for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) a major form of brain cancer has been successfully developed. One of the approaches `showed that GBM could effectively be treated with the novel drug, Imipramine Blue (IB) an anti-invasive agent and doxorubicin, an anticancer chemotherapeutic. The generality of this approach is being currently evaluated in metastatic tumors of other tissue origin. Nanocarrier technology is also exploited to demarcate tumor margins to aid neurosurgeons in surgical removal of brain tumors. Also, based on the EUREKA NIH award, Prof Bellamkonda lab is developing new tumor cell “exvasion” methodologies to reduce tumor burden as well as controlling tumor cell migration along white matter tracts.

    Peripheral Nerve Regeneration

    Using a biomaterial approach and using biomimetic 3D scaffold that draw their design inspiration from principles of contact guidance, haptotaxis/ chemotaxis, regeneration of injured nerves are promoted. Studies are done to enhance regeneration across long gaps (>25 mm). Studies from Prof. Bellamkonda group have shown that tissue-energized scaffolds are comparable to the autografts in their performance. A wealth of information is also generated from these studies with respect to the response to topographical cues as well as cellular and molecular mechanisms that take place in the regeneration microenvironment. More recently, strategies based on an immunological approach has been adopted to facilitate the regeneration process.  Creating an anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype subsequent to peripheral nerve injury has shown to favorably bias the regenerative process.  Efforts are directed towards using the body’s endogenous repair mechanisms including the participation of glial cells. Another active area in this realm is the fabrication of multi-channel devices for implantation to aid restoration of lost function in amputees.

    Strategies for Therapeutic Intervention for Spinal Cord Injury

    Several experimental approaches are taken to deliver treatments following spinal cord injury. The strategies include alleviation of trauma due to primary injury as well as mitigating secondary inflammation. Major focus in this area is to exploit the immune-modulation approach to tackle the consequences following the spinal cord injury including the dissolution of the astroglial scar to increase the plasticity to enhance the neuronal function.

    Brain Electrode Interfacing

    The major focus in the are a of brain-electrode interfacing is to unravel the reasons for the failure of the electrodes in a short period of time after implantation. To understand the causation of the failure, an investigation is carried out using a multidisciplinary approach. The sequences of cellular and molecular events that follow the electrode implantation are examined and a correlation is made to the ability to record from these devices. This should lead to predicting, at an earlier time point, the potential for these devices to fail. Alternatively, a new class of electrodes with biomaterial-based compounds is designed to minimize tissue/electrode mismatch to prolong the functional life of the electrodes. Also, novel electrode arrays are designed to overcome some of the drawbacks of the current electrodes. Our recent work has brought to light the role of compromised blood brain barrier (BBB) and the failure of implanted electrodes. Future strategies will focus on implementing strategies to cause healing to increase the life of the electrode interfaces. Additionally, for helping TBI patients, stem cell therapeutic approach is designed by creating “immune-privilege” microenvironment for stem cell survival in vivo.

  • Featured Publications

    • Saxena T, Bellamkona RV. 2015. Implantable electronics: A sensor web for neurons. Nature Materials.
    • Jain A, Betancur M, Patel GD, Valmikinathan CM, Mukhatyar VJ, Vakharia A, Pai SB, Brahma B, Macdonald TJ, Bellamkonda RV. 2014. Guiding intracortical brain tumour cells to an extracortical cytotoxic hydrogel using aligned polymeric nanofibres. Nature Materials.
    • Karumbaiah L, Saxena T, Carlson D, Patil K, Patkar R, Gaupp EA, Betancur M, Stanley GB, Carin L,Bellamkonda RV. 2013. Relationship between intracortical electrode design and chronic recording functionBiomaterials.
    • Saxena T, Karumbaiah L, Gaupp EA, Patkar R, Patil K, Betancur M, Stanley GB, Bellamkonda RV. 2013. The impact of chronic blood-brain barrier breach on intracortical electrode function. Biomaterials.
    • Munson JM, Bellamkonda RV, Swartz, MA.  2012.  Interstitial flow in a 3D microenvironment increases glioma invasion by a CXCR4-dependent mechanism.  Cancer Research.
    • Mokarram N, Merchant A, Mukhatyar V, Patel G, Bellamkonda RV. 2012. Effect of modulating macrophage phenotype on peripheral nerve repair. Biomaterials.

    • Munson JM, Fried L, Rowson SA, Bonner MY, Karumbaiah L, Diaz B, Courtneidge SA, Knaus UG, Brat DJ, Arbiser JL,Bellamkonda RV. 2012. Anti-invasive adjuvant therapy with imipramine blue enhances chemotherapeutic efficacy against gliomaSci. Transl. Med
    • Agarwal A, Mackey MA, El-Sayed MA, Bellamkonda RV. 2011. Remote Triggered Release of Doxorubicin in Tumors by Synergistic Application of Thermosensitive Liposomes and Gold Nanorods. ACS Nano
    • Loomis K, McNeeley KM, Bellamkonda RV. 2010. Nanoparticles with targeting, triggered release, and imaging functionality for cancer applications.  Soft Matter.
    • Hoffman-Kim D, Mitchel JA, Bellamkonda RV. 2010. Topography, Cell Response, and Nerve RegenerationAnnu. Rev. Biomed. Eng.
    • Lee H-J, McKeon R, Bellmakonda RV. 2009. Sustained delivery of thermostabilized chABC enhances axonal sprouting and functional recovery after spinal cord injury. PNAS
    • Bellamkonda RV. 2008. Biomimetic Materials: Marine InspirationNature Materials.

  • People

    We've got a top notch team!

    Principal Investigator

    Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

    Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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    Administrative Manager

    I work directly with Prof. Bellamkonda with all of his projects in the dean office.

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    Assistant Research Professor

    My research focuses on modulating immune response for enhancing neural tissue repair as well as advanced immunoengineering approaches to treat brain tumor.

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    Assistant Research Professor

    My research focuses on immune modulation in central nervous system trauma.

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    Lab Manager

    I manage the day to day function of the lab and my research involves exploring directed cancer cell motility and material analysis of implantable devices.

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    Product Developer

    I work as a product developer for the Tumor Monorail project managing all facets from design to business of the new device development. Learn More

    Research Technologist

    I conduct high throughput gene expression and transcriptome analysis for lab projects.​

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    Research Technologist

    I assist with conducting experimental designs as well as histological and molecular data collection & analysis for all ongoing projects in the lab.

    PhD Candidate

    My research focus is blood-brain barrier modulation for intracortical electrode implants. 

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    PhD Candidate

    My research focus is on managing brain tumors, particularly the discovery of novel cancer therapies using electric fields. Learn More

    PhD Student

    My research focus in the localized immune-suppression of T-Cells at the site of traumatic brain injury to enhance the the efficacy of stem cell therapy. Learn More

    PhD Student

    My research focuses on developing a material for CNS regeneration.

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  • Media

    Congress Brief

    AIMBE President Ravi Bellamkonda Briefs Congress on Brain Cancer Discoveries

    TEDxGeorgia Tech

    Technology to Dance with Nature

    Atlanta's WSB-TV one on one 

    BME @ Georgia Tech & Emory

    Unite 2 Fight Paralysis

    Alleviating CS-GAG Mediated Inhibition of Spinal Cord Regeneration

    Tumor Nanofiber Device

    Guiding Intracortical Brain Tumour Cells to an Extracortical Cytotoxic Hydrogel

    Tumor Monorail

    Cancer: 'Tumour monorail' can lead cancers to their doom


  • Bellamkonda Lab Alumni

    Dr. Adriana Nicholson Vest

    Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University

    Dr. Kristin Loomis

    The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

    Dr. Akhil Srinivasan


    Dr. Jenny Munson

    Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia

    Dr. Lohitash Karumbaiah

    Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia 

    Dr. Anjana Jain

    Assistant Professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute 

    Dr. Kathleen McNeeley

    Teaching Faculty at the University of Texas at Dallas

    Dr. Chandra Valmikinathan

    Capgemini Consulting

    Dr. Shyam Aravamudhan

    Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Dr. Yoonsu "Paul" Choi

    Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Pan American

    Dr. Vivek Mukhatyar


    Dr. Isaac Clements

    Axion Biosystem

    Dr. Clare Gollnick


    Dr. Abhiruchi Agarwal


    Martha Betancur

    PhD Candidate at UGA

    Gaurang Patel

    Regeneration Matrix

    Dr. Stathis Karathanasis

    Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve

    Dr. Hyunjung Lee

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Ananta Laxmi Ayyagaari

    Wei He

    Associate Professor at University of Tennessee Knoxville

    George McConnell

    Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology

    Young-Tae Kim

    Associate Professor at UT Arlington

    Dr. Justin Saul

    Associate Professor at Ohio University

    Dr. Mahesh Dodla

    Sigma Aldrich

    Dr. Yinghui Zhong

    Assistant Professor at Drexel University

    Dr. Ryan Gilbert

    Associate Professor at RPI

    Dr. Nancy Meilander

    National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Dr. Amit Balgude, M.D. 


    George Dillon

    Dr. Xiaojun Yu

    Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology

    Dr. Khalid Kader

    US Navy

  • Funding Sources

    Please contact us if you would like to contribute to our ground-breaking research or tour our lab!

  • Contact Us!

    Bellamkonda Lab at Duke University

    Phone: (919) 613-7429

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  • Our Location

  • Useful Links

    Discover Biomedical Engineering

    Venture lab at Georgia Tech

    A map of on-campus entrepreneurship resources for students at Georgia Tech.

    The Laboratory for Neuroengineering (NeuroLab) at Georgia Tech and Emory University