Faculty and Staff

Raj Raghavendra Rao

Raj Raghavendra Rao

Professor, Department Head and George M. and Boyce W. Billingsley Endowed Chair in Engineering


(BMEG)-Biomedical Engineering

Phone: 479-575-8610

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Raj R. Rao, Ph.D. is Professor and Department Head, Biomedical Engineering and is the holder of the George M. and Boyce W. Billingsley Endowed Chair in Engineering in the College of Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He previously served on the faculty in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering in the VCU School of Engineering with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics in the VCU School of Medicine. Rao received a dual degree in Chemical Engineering [BE(Hons)] and Biology [MSc(Hons) from the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India (1993), earned an MS in Biotechnology from the University of Texas, San Antonio (1996) and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia (2001). Following completion of his graduate studies, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Regenerative Bioscience Center, The University of Georgia and then joined the faculty at VCU in the Fall of 2005. His research interests are in the broad area of cellular engineering that utilize interdisciplinary approaches towards development of enabling technologies for regenerative biomedical therapies. With primary support from NIH, NSF and DoD, his research and educational programs have contributed to 50+ journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings; 80+ conference abstracts; and 70+ invited lectures. He is committed to integration of research and education and is actively involved in the dissemination of scientific expertise through organization of training workshops and development of educational modules for K-12 students and the public. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biological Engineering, a BioMed Central-Springer Nature publication, and holds memberships in AAAS, AHA, BMES, IBE, ASEE and AIChE. Awards and Honors include the NSF-CAREER, Qimonda Professorship, Billingsley Professorship, VCU Engineering Student Council Outstanding Professor Award; and IBE Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service. He was selected to serve as an ABET Program Evaluator for the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES); and also serves on the BMES Education Committee.

Stem Cell Bioprocessing; Biomaterials; Biomarkers; Pluripotency; Genomic Stability; Cancer Stem Cells; Cellular Reprogramming; Neural and Cardiovascular Bioengineering; Regenerative Medicine; Biomedical Engineering Education; Healthcare Entrepreneurship

  • BE (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Birla Institute of Technology and Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India (1993)
  • MSc (Hons) Biological Sciences; Birla Institute of Technology and Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India (1993)
  • MS Biotechnology; University of Texas at San Antonio, TX, USA. (1996). 
  • PhD Biological Engineering; University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA (2001). 

2017, 2018- Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service, The Institute of Biological Engineering

2016- George M. and Boyce W. Billingsley Endowed Chair in Engineering

2016- Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Biological Engineering, BioMed Central

2008-2013: Faculty Early Development (CAREER) award, US National Science Foundation.

2008-2011: Qimonda Professor of Chemical and Life Science Engineering.