Surya Mallapragada

  • Anson Marston Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Carol Vohs Johnson Chair
  • Scientist, Ames Laboratory, Division of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Associate Vice President for Research, Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research

Main Office

2031 Sweeney Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1098
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.

Latest News:

Teaching Spring Semester 2018 Ch E 642, Principles and Applications for Molecular Simulations (with Dr. Monica Lamm)

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
  • Zhang, H., Wang, W., Akinc, M., Mallapragada, S.K., Travesset, A., Vaknin, D., “Assembling and ordering Polymer-Grafted Nanoparticles in Three Dimensions”, Nanoscale, 9, 8710-15 (2017).!divAbstract
  • Uz, M., Buyukoz, M., Sharma, A., Sakaguchi, D., Altinkaya, S. A., and Mallapragada, S.K., “Gelatin Based 3D Conduits for Transdifferentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Schwann Cell-Like Phenotypes”, Acta Biomat., 53, 293-306 (2017).
  • Das, S., Uz, M., Ding, S., Lentner, M., Hondred, J., Cargill, A., Sakaguchi, D.S., Mallapragada, S., and Claussen, J., “Electrical Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Schwann Cell-Like Phenotypes using Inkjet Printed Graphene Circuits”, Healthcare Mater., 6(7), 1601087 (2017). Journal cover image. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201601087
  • Uz, M., Sharma, A., Adhikari, P., Sakaguchi, D., and Mallapragada, S.K., “Development of Multifunctional Films for Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Conduits, Acta Biomat. 56, 141-152 (2017).
  • Zhang, H., Wang, W., Mallapragada, S.K., Travesset, A., and Vaknin, D., “Macroscopic and Tunable Nanoparticle Superlattices”, Nanoscale. 9, 164-171 (2017).
  • Zhang, H., Wang, W., Hagen, N., Kuzmenko, I., Akinc, M., Travesset, A., Mallapragada, S.K., and Vaknin, D., “Self-assembly of DNA-functionalized Gold Nanoparticles at the Air-Water Interface”, Advanced Materials Interfac., 3, 1600180 (2016).
  • Wang, W., Zhang, H., Kuzmenko, I., Mallapragada, S., and Vaknin, D., “Assembling Bare Au Nanoparticles at Positively Charged Templates”, Rep, 6, 26462 (2016).
  • Ross, K., Adams, J.,Loyd, H., Ahmed, S., Sambol, A., Broderick, S., Rajan, K., Kohut, M., Bronich, T., Carpenter, S., Wannemuehler, M., Narasimhan, B., and Mallapragada, S.K., “Combination Nanovaccine Demonstrates Synergistic Enhancement in Efficacy Against Influenza”, ACS Biomaterials Sci. Eng., 2, 368-374 (2016).
  • Renukaradhya, G., Narasimhan, B., and Mallapragada, S.K., “Respiratory Nanoparticle-Based Vaccines and Challenges Associated with Animal Models and Translation”, J. Controlled Rel. (Americas special edition), 219, 622-631 (2015).
  • Mallapragada, S.K., Brenza, T., McMillan, J., Narasimhan, B., Sakaguchi, D., Sharma, A., Zbarska, S., and Gendelman, H., “Enabling Nanomaterial, Nanofabrication and Cellular Technologies for Nanoneuromedicine”, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 11, 715-725 (2015).
  • Gendelman, H., Anantaram, V., Brenza, T., Bronich, T., Ghaisas, S., Jin, H., Kanthasamy, A., Liu, X., McMillan, J., Mosley, R.L., Narasimhan, B., and Mallapragada, S.K. “Nanoneuromedicines for Degenerative, Inflammatory and Infectious Disorders of the Nervous System”, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 11, 751-767 (2015).
  • Adams, J., Haughney, S., and Mallapragada, S.K., “Effective Polymer Adjuvants for Sustained Delivery of Protein Subunit Vaccines”, Acta Biomat., 14, 104-114 (2015).
  • Uz, M., Mallapragada, S.K., and Alsoy, S., “Pentablock Copolymer-based siRNA Delivery System”, RSC Adv., 5, 43515-527 (2015).!divAbstract
  • Jia, F., Mallapragada, S.K., and Narasimhan, B., “Multienzyme Immobilization and Co-localization on Nanoparticles Assisted by DNA Hybridization”, I&EC Res.,54, 10212-10220 (2015).
  • Kashyap, S., Woehl, T., Liu, X.P., Mallapragada, S.K., and Prozorov, T., “Protein-Mediated Nucleation of Nanoparticles In situ”, ACS Nano, 8, 9097-9106 (2014).
  • Jia, F., Narasimhan, B. and Mallapragada, S.K., “Materials-Based Strategies for Multienzyme Immobilization and Co-localization: A Review”, Bioeng., 111, 209 (2014).

Link to Digital Repository