Rafael Davalos, Ph.D.

L. Preston Wade Professor
Picture of Rafael Davalos
329 Kelly Hall
325 Stanger St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Research Areas

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Translational cancer research

Research Interests           

  • Biotransport
  • Cellular engineering microsystems
  • Bioheat transfer
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Medical device design for cancer detection and treatment
  • Electroporation
  • Microfluidic tissue mimics
  • Bio-inspired microfluidics
  • Scaffolds for tissue engineering
  • Brain-on-a-chip


  • University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering (Bioengineering), 2002
  • University of California, Berkeley: M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1995
  • Cornell University: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1994

Awards, Honors, Service

  • 2019 Fellow, The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) 
  • Invited Speaker: Gordon Conference on Bioelectrochemistry July 1-6, Lucca, Italy, 2012
  • Invited Speaker: XXX URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, August 13-20, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011
  • College of Engineering Faculty Fellow: College of Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2011 - 2014
  • NSF CAREER Award Recipient: National Science Foundation, 2011
  • Invited Speaker: Electric Fields Effects in Tumors Workshop. IEEE EMBS, Argentina, 2010
  • Invited Speaker: 7th International Bioelectrics Symposium. Norfolk, VA, 2010
  • Invited Speaker: Engineering Platforms for Exploring Cellular and Molecular Processes. U Louisville, 2010
  • Invited Speaker: Thermal Biology and Therapy Workshop. U Minnesota, 2010
  • Invited Speaker: Society for CNS Interstitial Delivery of Therapeutics. Cleveland, OH, 2009
  • Invited Speaker: 36th FACSS Conference. Louisville, KY, 2009
  • Plenary Speaker: 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology. Charlotte NC, 2008
  • Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award: College of Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2009
  • Early Career Award: Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, 2008 - 2012
  • National Award Recipient: HENAAC - Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, 2006

Recent Publications

S Bhonsle, MF Lorenzo, A Safaai-Jazi, RV Davalos. Characterization of Nonlinearity and Dispersion in Tissue Impedance during High Frequency Electroporation, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 2017. (IF 3.577)

B Mercadal, CB Arena, RV Davalos, A Ivorra. Avoiding nerve stimulation in irreversible electroporation: a numerical modeling study. Physics in Medicine and Biology, vol 62(20), pp 8060-8079, 2017. (IF 2.742)

M Bonakdar, EW Wasson, YW Lee, RV Davalos. Electroporation of brain endothelial cells on chip toward permeabilizing the blood-brain-barrier. Biophysical Journal, vol 110, pp 505-512, 2016. (IF 3.972) (cover)

JH Rossmeisl, PA Garcia, TE Pancotto, JL Robertson, N Henao-Guerrero, RE Neal, TL Ellis, RV Davalos. Safety and feasibility of the nanoKnife system for irreversible electroporation ablative treatment of canine spontaneous intracranial gliomas. J Neurosurgery, vol 123(4), pp 1008-1025, 2015. (IF 3.227)

M Bonakdar, E Latouche, R Mahajan, RV Davalos. The feasibility of a smart surgical probe for verification of IRE treatments using Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol 62(11), pp 2674-2684, 2015. (IF 2.347)

MB Sano, CB Arena, MR DeWitt, D Saur, RV Davalos. In-vitro bipolar nano- and microsecond electro pulse bursts for irreversible electroporation therapies. Bioelectrochemistry, vol 100, pp 69-79, 2014. (IF 3.774)

RE Neal, JH Rossmeisl, JL Robertson, CB Arena, EM Davis, RN Singh, J Stallings, RV Davalos. Improved local and systemic anti-tumor efficacy for irreversible electroporation in immunocompetent versus immunodeficient mice, PLoS ONE, vol 8(5), e64559:1-10, 2013. (IF 4.537)

CB Arena, RL Mahajan, MN Rylander, RV Davalos. An experimental and numerical investigation of phase change electrodes for therapeutic irreversible electroporation, ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, vol 135(11), pp 111009:1-9, 2013. Editor’s Choice Paper, Richard Skalak Award (IF 1.519)

A Salmanzadeh, L Romero, H Shafiee, RC Gallo-Villanueva, MA Stremler, SD Cramer, RV Davalos. Isolation of prostate tumor initiating cells (TICs) through their dielectrophoretic signature. Lab on a Chip, vol 12, pp 182-189, 2012. (IF 6.342)

RE Neal II, JH Rossmeisl Jr, PA Garcia, O Lantz, N Henao-Guerrero, RV Davalos. Successful treatment of a large soft-tissue sarcoma with irreversible electroporation. Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol 29(13), pp 372-377, 2011. (IF 17.793)