Surya Mallapragada

  • Anson Marston Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Carol Vohs Johnson Chair
  • Scientist, Ames Laboratory, Division of Materials Science and Engineering

Main Office

2031 Sweeney Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2230
Phone: 515-294-7407
Fax: 515-294-2689


  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1996
  • B.Tech. Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 1993

Interest Areas

Research Interests

Our research program is focused on designing polymeric biomaterials and bioinspired materials. Our current focus areas are:
  • Smart Polymers for Delivery of Genetic Material: We have designed and synthesized novel smart bioinspired multi-block copolymers that exhibit pH and temperature sensitivity. These polymers are cationic and undergo thermoreversible gelation at body temperatures These cationic polymers exhibit complexation with nucleic acids and serve as excellent injectable sustained delivery vectors of combiantions of miRNA or siRNA with chemotherapeutic agents for pancreatic cancer therapies. These copolymers also exhibit selective transfection in cancer cells.
  • Polymers for Vaccine Delivery: This project focuses on developing sustained vaccine delivery devices for single-dose sub-unit vaccines. We have designed virus-mimicking block copolymer-based nanovaccines for influenza that act as effective adjuvants  to stimulate the immune system and confer protection.
  • Bioinspired Nanocomposites: This multi-investigator project focuses on the synthesis as well as the hierarchical self-assembly of nanoparticles into 2D and 3D structures using a combination of stimuli-responsive synthetic block copolymers and biomolecules.
  • Combating Neurodegeneration: Our approach involves utilizing a combination of physical, chemical, biological and electrical cues on polymer substrates to facilitate peripheral nerve regeneration, and control adult stem cell differentiation to combat neurodegeneration. Our recent work has showed that physical cues in the form of micropatterned substrates, in synergy with other cues such as electrical, can control differentiation of adult stem cells. We are also developing strategies to deliver therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier to combat neurodegeneration.

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Brief Biography

Honors and Awards
  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2016
  • WiSE Champion, Program for Women in Science and Engineering, 2016
  • Clare Booth Luce Scholarship Award, Higher Education Resource Services, 2016
  • David Boylan Eminent Faculty Award for Research, Iowa State University, 2014
  • Young Alumni Achievement Award, IIT Bombay, 2011
  • Distinguished Service Award, Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division, AIChE
  • Stanley Chair in Interdisciplinary Engineering, 2009 - 2015
  • Fellow, American Association for Advancement of Science, 2008
  • Member, NIH Study Section, Biomaterials & Biointerfaces, 2006-2010
  • Mid-Career Excellence in Research Award, ISU Foundation, 2007
  • Big 12 Rising Star Award, 2007
  • Invited participant, National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers in Engineering Conference, 2006
  • Fellow, AIMBE, 2006
  • Global Indus Technovator Award, 2003
  • Named by MIT's Technology Review Magazine as one of the World's Top 100 Young Innovators, 2002
  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award, 2001
  • Early Achievement in Research Award, ISU Foundation, 2001
  • NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award, 2000
  • Andrews Graduate Fellowship, Purdue University, 1993-1995

Selected Publications

Selected Recent Publications

Link to Digital Repository