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Sunitha Nagrath | Faculty

Sunitha Nagrath

Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

NCRC B10-A184
(734) 647-7985



Short Bio


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
PhD ME '04
MS Nuclear Engineering '00

Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupathi, India
B.Tech Chemical Engineering '92


  • Assistant Professor (2010-Present)


  • Junior Faculty, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital Surgery, (2008-2010)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Engineering in Medicine, (2004-2008)

Research Interests

Dr. Nagrath's research goal is to bring the next generation of engineering tools to patient care, especially in cancer. Her major focus of research is to develop advanced MEMS tools for understanding cell trafficking in cancer through isolation, characterization and study of circulating cell in peripheral blood of cancer patients. Dr. Nagrath’s research on isolating and studying rare cells from cancer patients. She would like to focus her lab’s efforts on designing and developing smart chips using microfluidics and nanotechnology to make impact in medicine and life sciences. Her goal is to create cutting edge engineering solutions for clinical medicine with novel translational biomedical research tools. She strongly believes in building a team where engineers, biologists and clinicians will come together to solve the complex problems with better approaches.


Courses Taught:

  • ChE 341 - Fluid Mechanics
  • ChE 505 - Applied Mathematics for Chemical Engineers
  • ChE 542- Intemediate Transport Phenomena
  • ChE 696- Directed Study in Chemical Engineering

Honors & Awards

  • Most highly rated abstract, AACR, 2010
  • NIH Director’s New Investigator Award 2009
  • Harvard Catalyst Grant Sunitha Nagrath Ph.D. 2
  • Judah Folkman Fellowship
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Scholar in training award 2009
  • Prostate Challenge Fund, 2008
  • Popular Mechanics Magazine's annual Breakthrough Award 2008
  • Clinical Research Team Award, 2008, MGH Clinical Research Day
  • Poster of Distinction Award, SAC 2007 MGH Research Symposium
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship

Selected Publications

Zhuo ZJ, Nagrath S, Microfluidics and cancer: are we there yet?, Invited review, Biomedical Microdevices, Jan, 2013.

Nagrath S*, Sequist L*, Maheswaran S, Bell DW, Irimia D, Ulkus L, Smith MR, Kwak EL, Digumarthy S, Muzikansky A, Ryan P, Balis UJ, Tompkins RG, Haber DA, Toner M, “Microchip-based Isolation of Rare Circulating Tumor Cells in Cancer Patients”, Nature 450, 1235–1239 (2007). *Equal contribution.

Maheswaran S*, Sequist L*, Nagrath S*, Ulkus L, Brannigan B, Collura C, Inserra B, Diederichs S, Iafrate J, Digumarthy S, Muzikansky A, Irimia D, Settleman J, Tompkins R, Lynch T, Toner M, Haber DA, “Detecting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor gene mutations in circulating tumor cells    from patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer”, New England Journal of Medicine 359(4), 366-77 (2008). *Equal contribution

Sequist L, Nagrath S, Maheswaran S, Haber DA, Toner M, Lynch TJ “The CTC-chip: An exciting new tool to detect circulating tumor cells in lung cancer patients”, The Journal of Thoracic Oncology 3(4), 281-283 (2009).

Stott, S.*, Lee, R*, Nagrath, S.*, Yu, M, Ulkus, L., Inserra, E. J., Ulman, M, Springer, S., Nakamura, Z., Moore, A., L., Tsukrov, D. I., Kempner, M. E., Dahl, D. M., Wu, C., Iafrate, A. J., Smith, M. R., Toner, M., Haber, D. A., Maheswaran, S., “Microfluidic isolation and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells from patients with localized and metastatic prostate cancer”, Science Translational Medicine, 31 March 2010 Vol 2 Issue 2 . *Equal contribution

Russom A., Gupta A., Nagrath S., DiCarlo D., Edd J, Toner, M., “High throughput microfluidic centrifuge for cell separation” New Journal of Physics 11 (2009) 075025.

Stott, S., Hsu, C., Tsukrov, D. I.,  Yu, M., Miyamoto, D. T., Waltman, B. A.,  S. Rothenberg, M. S., Shah, A., Smas, M. E., Korir, G. K., Floyd, F. P. Jr., Gilman, A. J., Lord, J. B., Winokur, D.,  Springer, S., Irimia, D., Nagrath, S., Sequist, L. V., Lee, R. J., Isselbacher, K. J., Maheswaran, S., Haber, D. A., Toner, M., “Isolation of circulating tumor cells using a microvortex-generating herringbone-chip” PNAS 2010 107 (43) 18392-18397

Nagrath S, K.E. Jansen, R.T. Lahey, I. Akhatov, “Hydrodynamic Simulation of Air Bubble Implosion using a Level Set Approach”, Journal of Computational Physics, Volume 215, Issue 1, 2006, 98-132.

Nagrath S, K.E. Jansen and R.T. Lahey, “Computation of incompressible bubble dynamics with a stabilized finite element level set method ”, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Volume 194, Issues 42-44, 15 October 2005, Pages 4565-4587.