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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

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Van C. Mow Medal, 2021
  • 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

N Alinezhadbalalami, PM Graybill, KM Irman, SS Verbridge, IC Allen, RV Davalos. Generation of tumor activated T-cells using electroporation. Bioelectrochemistry, in print. (IF 5.373)

MF Lorenzo, SP Bhonsle, CB Arena, RV Davalos. Rapid impedance spectroscopy for monitoring tissue impedance, temperature, and treatment outcome during electroporation-based therapies. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, in print, 2021. (IF 4.491) Featured Article, May 2021 Issue

KN Aycock, Y Zhao, MF Lorenzo, RV Davalos. A theoretical argument for extended interpulse delays in therapeutic high-frequency irreversible electroporation treatments. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. In print, 2021. (IF 4.491).

PM Graybill, A Jana, R Kapania, A Nain, RV Davalos. Single cell forces after electroporation. ACS Nano, vol 15(2), pp 2554-2568, 2020. (Supplemental cover) (IF 14.588)

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

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.