Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory
Prof. Bellamkonda is the Wallace H. Coulter Professor and Departmental Chair for the
department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University. He
is also a GRA Distinguished Scientist. Prof. Bellamkonda’s research involves an exploration of the
interplay of biomaterials and the nervous system for neural interfaces, nerve repair and brain
As Chair of the highly ranked and highly regarded Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia
Tech and Emory, Prof. Bellamkonda is helping facilitate transformative research in the areas of
Pediatric Bioengineering, Cell Therapies, Neuroengineering, Immunoengineering, Cancer
Technologies and Cardiovascular Imaging. Specifically, the opportunity in Cell Manufacturing is
compelling and meets a significant need currently unmet by any other university or entity.
Prof. Bellamkonda currently serves as the President for the American Institute for Biological and
Medical Engineering (AIMBE) and the elected Board of Director for the Biomedical Engineering
Society (BMES). He advises several departments and programs nationally as a member of
their external advisory board. Prof. Bellamkonda has won numerous awards including a
Clemson Award for Applied Research from SFB, EUREKA award from NCI (NIH), CAREER
award from NSF, and Best Professor Award from GT BME student body.
Prof. Bellamkonda is very interested in shaping educational programs that promote student-
driven learning, and foster deep learning in students. He is also very interested in shaping
educational programs that expand the engineering skill set to give students comfort with solving
complex problems fearlessly and facilitating student entrepreneurial experiences (e.g., CREATE-
X). Prof. Bellamkonda served at the principal investigator for a NIH funded T32 grant to promote
doctoral training in the rational design of materials for seven years and developed a novel
leadership program for doctoral students at Georgia Tech.
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.
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.
Mokarram N, Merchant A, Mukhatyar V, Patel G, Bellamkonda RV. 2012. Effect of modulating macrophage phenotype on peripheral nerve repair. Biomaterials.
Wallace H Coulter Professor & Department Chair at Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory School of Medicine.
My work involves exploring the potential of motile nanocarriers in the treatment of brain tumors by enabling the stimulation of apoptotic pathway and innate immune response against tumor cells. Learn More
I assist with conducting experimental designs as well as histological and molecular data collection & analysis for all ongoing projects in the lab.
Dr. Justin Saul
Dr. Mahesh Dodla
Dr. Yinghui Zhong
Dr. Ryan Gilbert
Dr. Nancy Meilander
Dr. Xiaojun Yu
Dr. Khalid Kader