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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

  • Alumni Award for Research Excellence (AARE): Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence, 2020
  • Distinguished Laboratory Investigation: Editors of Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 2019
  • The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow, 2019
  • Dean’s Award: Excellence in Research, 2016
  • Named Professorship: L. Preston Wade Professorship, 2016 - present
  • Innovator Award: Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) TechNite, 2015
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow, 2015
  • College of Engineering Faculty Fellow, 2011 - 2014
  • NSF CAREER Award Recipient, 2011
  • Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award, 2009
  • Early Career Award: Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, 2008 - 2012
  • National Award Recipient: HENAAC - Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, 2006
  • Distinguished Speaker: Virginia Tech 2019 LatinX Symposium, 2019
  • Keynote Speaker: 1st Latin American Workshop on Electroporation, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2018
  • Plenary Speaker: International Symposium on Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, Lyon, France, 2017
  • Keynote Address: Research Day, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN, 2017
  • Plenary Speaker: 1st World Congress on Electroporation, Portoroz, Slovenia, 2015
  • Keynote Speaker: International Symposium on Electro & Liquid Phase-Separation Techniques, Baltimore, MD, 2012
  • Plenary Speaker: 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology. Charlotte NC, 2008

Recent Publications

B Mercadal, NB White, KN Aycock, Q Castellvi, RV Davalos, A Ivorra. Immediate and delayed cell death after conventional IRE and H-FIRE treatments. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, vol 45(5), pp 1451-1462, 2020. (IF 3.474 ) (cover)

N Beitel-White, RCG Martin, Y Li, R Brock, I Allen, RV Davalos. Real-time prediction of patient immune cell modulation during irreversible electroporation therapy. Scientific Reports, vol 9:17739, 2019. (IF 4.011)

CI Trainito, DC Sweeney, J Cemazar, EM Schmelz, O Francais, B Le Pioufle, RV Davalos. Characterization of sequentially-staged cancer cells using electrorotation, PLoS ONE, 14(9): e0222289, 2019. (IF 2.776)

V Farmehini, W Varhue, A Salahi, A Hyler, J Cemazar, RV Davalos, N Sawmi. On-chip impedance for quantifying parasitic voltages during AC Electrokinetic trapping. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, in print. (IF 4.228)

TA Douglas, N Alinzehadbalalami, N Balani, EM Schmelz, RV Davalos. Separation of macrophages and fibroblasts using contactless dielectrophoresis and a novel ImageJ macro. Bioelectricity, vol 1(1), pp 49-55, 2019. 

EM Wasson, N Alinezhadbalalami, RM Brock, IC Allen, SS Verbridge, RV Davalos. Understanding the role of calcium-mediated cell death in high-frequency irreversible electroporation. Bioelectrochemistry, p.107369, 2019. (IF 4.474)

N Alinezhadbalalami, TA Douglas, N Balani, SS Verbridge, RV Davalos. The feasibility of using dielectrophoresis for isolation of Glioblastoma subpopulations with increased stemness. Electrophoresis, 2019. (IF 2.754)

JW Ivey, EM Wasson, N Alinezhadbalalami, A Kanitkar, W Debinski, Z Sheng, RV Davalos, SS Verbridge. Characterization of ablation thresholds for 3D-cultured patient-derived glioma stem cells in response to high-frequency irreversible electroporation. AAAS Research, vol 2019, pp 8081315:1-14, 2019.

B Partridge, TJ O’Brien, MF Lorenzo, S Coutermarsh-Ott, S Barry, N Muro, IC Allen, RV Davalos,NG Dervisis. High frequency irreversible electroporation for treatment of primary liver cancer: proof of principal study in canine hepatocellular carcinoma, Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, vol pp, 2019 (IF 2.882), in print

TJ O’Brien, MF Lorenzo, Y Zhao, RE Neal II, JL Robertson, NS Goldberg, RV Davalos. Cycled pulsing to mitigate thermal damage for multi-electrode irreversible electroporation therapy, International Journal of Hyperthermia, vol 36(1), pp 953-963, 2019. (IF 3.440)