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Marjan Rafat

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology


Our lab combines engineering and cancer biology concepts to examine the mechanisms driving tumor recurrence and metastasis. We study the relationship between tumor cells, normal tissues, and the immune system as a means of understanding the microenvironment to determine how each component contributes to metastasis and relapse after therapy. We aim to develop bio-inspired hydrogel materials and in vitro tumor- and tissue-on-a-chip models by learning from in vivo mouse models. Specifically, we study: (1) the collateral effect of radiation and surgery of normal tissues on tumor and immune cell migration patterns; (2) the nanoscale communication patterns of normal tissues wounded from therapy; and (3) the changes in the biomechanical properties of the tumor microenvironment and surrounding normal tissues following therapy. We analyze the physical, chemical, and biological cues that influence cancer metastasis and recurrence at the interface of engineering and medicine.


• NCI Early Investigator Advancement Program Scholar
• NIH Pathway to Independence Award
• AACR Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award
• Women in Molecular Imaging Scholar Award