Chemical Engineering student working in lab.
Prakash Rai
Professor Prakash R RaiAssistant Professor

Research Interests

Nanotechnology; Targeted Drug Delivery; Nanomedicine; Medical Imaging; Molecular Imaging; Cancer Research; Theranostics; Breast Cancer; Nanobiotechnology; Cancer Biology; Biotechnology; Biomedical Engineering; Bioengineering; Biomaterials; Tissue Engineering

In my research group we employ a multi-disciplinary approach towards problem solving. By combining the expertise in engineering, life sciences and clinical sciences we intend to address and solve some of the biomedical problems where there is a huge unmet need, like cancer. We are currently interested in developing image-guided prevention and treatment strategies for cancer using nanoparticle-based drug delivery vehicles. Imaging is used to guide the therapy protocol for optimal treatment responses against cancer. Different cocktails are being developed for different cancer sub-types, such as hormone receptor positive and triple negative breast cancer. Following synthesis and optimization of these THERApeutic+diagNOSTIC ("Theranostic") nanoconstructs, my group intends to evaluate their treatment efficacy in cell culture and orthotopic mouse models of human cancers. If these constructs show sufficient promise in these preclinical models we can further pursue their translation to the clinic where they could significantly impact patient care by lowering mortality rates and enhancing overall quality of life.

Although my primary research interest is in the field of translational nanotechnology/nanomedicine for the treatment of diseases especially cancer and infectious diseases. Other research interests of my lab include drug delivery, biomaterials, optical/molecular imaging, and biomedical optics. The long-term career goal of this lab is to develop multifunctional theranostic nanomedicine for clinical applications, which can diagnose, deliver targeted therapy and monitor the response to therapy. The integration of diagnostic imaging capability with therapeutic interventions is critical to addressing the major challenges to cancer treatment. Imaging tools to monitor treatment response early in the course of therapy can help enhance tumor destruction and inhibit long-term adverse effects such as tumor re-growth and metastasis before they occur. Accurate and timely monitoring of treatment response is thus critical for optimal management of cancer patients.We are also interested in using these tools as well as employ mathematical modeling for tissue engineering applications.


  • MS: Chemical and Biological Engineering , (2007), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY
    Supporting Area: Nanotechnology
  • Ph D: Chemical and Biological Engineering , (2007), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY
    Supporting Area: Nanotechnology
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Design and Characterization of Polyvalent Liposome-Based Anthrax Toxin Inhibitors
  • BS: Chemical Engineering , (2003), University of Mumbai - Mumbai, India
    Supporting Area: Bioengineering and Biotechnology

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2015 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2015), Teaching - University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Cancer Nanotechnology Career Development Award (2012), Scholarship/Research - National Cancer Institute and NIH
  • "Pathway to Independence" Grant Award (2010) - NCI/NIH
  • Travel Award (2010) - American Association of Cancer Research, Boston, MA.
  • Urbach Travel Award (2010) - American Society of Photobiology, Providence RI
  • Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) award in Cancer Nanotechnology (2010), Scholarship/Research - National Cancer Institute/ National Institute of Health
  • "Scholar in Training" Award (2010), Scholarship/Research - American Association of Cancer Research
  • International Photodynamic Association Travel Award (2009)
  • Poster of Distinction Award (2009) - ORCD-MGH

Selected Publications

  • Velpurisiva, P., Gad, A., Piel, B., Jadia, R., Rai, P. (2017) "Nanoparticle Design Strategies for Effective Cancer Immunotherapy," J. Biomed 2:1
  • Jadia, R., Piel, B., Rai, P. () "Phototriggered polymeric nanoparticles for treatment of triple negative breast cancer,"
  • EkizKanik, F., Jadia, R., Kydd, J., Rai, P. () "Targeted delivery of curcumin against triple-negative breast cancer,"
  • Sneider, A., Jadia, R., Piel, B., VanDyke, D., Tsiros, C., Rai, P. (2016) "Engineering Remotely Triggered Liposomes to Target Triple Negative Breast Cancer," Oncomedicine
  • VanDyke D., Kyriacopulos P., Yassini B., Wright A., Jacek S., Burkhart E., Pratt M., Peterson C., , ., (2016) "Nanoparticle Based Combination Treatments for Targeting Multiple Hallmarks of Cancer," International Journal of Nano Studies & Technology (IJNST)
  • Jadia, R., Scandore, C., Rai, P. (2016) "Nanoparticles for Effective Combination Therapy of Cancer," International Journal of Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine 1:1 pp. 1-15
  • VanDyke, D., Paliwal, S., Rai, P. () "Plasmonic Nanosurgery for Destruction of Microscopic Residual Disease Following Resection in Cancer," Medcrave Journal of Surgery
  • Sneider, A., VanDyke, D., Paliwal, S., Rai, P. (2016) "Remotely Triggered Nanotheranostics for Cancer Applications.," Nanotheranostics
  • Gad, A., Kydd, J., Piel, B., Rai, P. (2016) "Targeting Cancer using Polymeric Nanoparticle mediated Combination Chemotherapy," International Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery 2:3
  • Rai, P., Mallidi, S., Zheng, X., Rahmanzadeh, R., Mir, Y., Elrington, S., Khurshid, A., Hasan, T. (2010) "Development and applications of photo-triggered theranostic agents," Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 62:11 pp. 1094-1124
  • Rahmanzadeh, R., Rai, P., Celli, J.P., Rizvi, I., Baron-Lühr, B., Gerdes, J., Hasan, T. (2010) "Ki-67 as a molecular target for therapy in an in vitro three-dimensional model for ovarian cancer," Cancer research 70:22 pp. 9234–9242
  • Rai, P., Vance, D., Poon, V., Mogridge, J., Kane, R.S. (2008) "Stable and Potent Polyvalent Anthrax Toxin Inhibitors: Raft-Inspired Domain Formation in Liposomes that Contain PEGylated Lipids," Chemistry-A European Journal 14:26 pp. 7748-7751
  • Joshi, A., Vance, D., Rai, P., Thiyagarajan, A., Kane, R.S. (2008) "The design of polyvalent therapeutics," Chemistry-A European Journal 14:26 pp. 7738-7747
  • Rai, P., Saraph, A., Ashton, R., Poon, V., Mogridge, J., Kane, R.S. (2007) "Raftlike polyvalent inhibitors of the anthrax toxin: modulating inhibitory potency by formation of lipid microdomains," Angewandte Chemie International Edition 46:13 pp. 2207-2209
  • Basha, S., Rai, P., Poon, V., Saraph, A., Gujraty, K., Go, M.Y., Sadacharan, S., Frost, M., Mogridge, J., Kane, R.S. (2006) "Polyvalent inhibitors of anthrax toxin that target host receptors," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:36 pp. 13509-13513
  • Rai, P., Padala, C., Poon, V., Saraph, A., Basha, S., Kate, S., Tao, K., Mogridge, J., Kane, R.S. (2006) "Statistical pattern matching facilitates the design of polyvalent inhibitors of anthrax and cholera toxins," Nature biotechnology 24:5 pp. 582-586
  • Carrillo, A., Gujraty, K.V., Rai, P., Kane, R.S. (2005) "Design of water-soluble, thiol-reactive polymers of controlled molecular weight: a novel multivalent scaffold," Nanotechnology 16:7

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Theranostic Nanomedicine for Breast Cancer Prevention and Image-Guided Therapy (2012), Grant -
    Rai, P. (Principal)
  • Prakash Rai (2010), Fellowship - Massachusetts General Hospital
    Rai, P.
  • Prakash Rai (2008), Fellowship - Massachusetts General Hospital
    Rai, P.
  • Research Fellow (2008), Fellowship - Wellman Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Rai, P.
  • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2003), - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Rai, P.
  • Research Assistant (2003), - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Rai, P.