image of Sunitha Nagrath

Sunitha Nagrath



[email protected]

(734) 647-7985


Chemical Engineering

B-10 A184 NCRC
2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

Primary Website


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

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

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 cells 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 an 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.


Positions Held at U-M

Co-Director, Single Cell Analysis Core, Rogel Cancer Center (2018-)
Associate Professor (2016-)
Assistant Professor (2010-2016)

Positions Held Elsewhere

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)

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


2019 class of Rogel Scholars, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

2018 Analytical Chemistry Young Innovator Award from the American Chemical Society

Departmental Excellence Award for outstanding research, UMICH, 2018

Chair, Next Generation Dx Summit, Circulating Tumor Cells, 2018

Organizer & Chair, Single Cell Analysis, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual meeting, 2018

Guest Editor, Special issue on Liquid Biopsies, The Cancer Journal, March/April 2018, Vol 2.

Organizing committee, American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Emerging Clinical and Laboratory Diagnostic conference, 2017

AACC’s Outstanding Speaker Award, 2015

Lefkofsky Scholar Award, UMICH, 2015

Coulter Translational Research Award, UMICH, 2014

DOD career development award, 2013

UMICH GISPORE Career development award

3M Non tenured faculty award

Most highly rated abstract, AACR, 2010

NIH Director’s New Investigator Award2009

Harvard Catalyst Grant, Harvard Medical School, 2010

Judah Folkman Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, 2009

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Scholar in training award 2009

Prostate Challenge Fund, 2008

Popular Mechanics Magazine’s Annual Breakthrough Award, 2008


Tae Hyun Kim, Yang Wang, Christopher Oliver, Douglas Thamm, Laura Cooling, Costanza Paoletti, Kaylee Smith, Nagrath, S*, and Hayes, D*, “A Temporary Indwelling Intravascular Aphaeretic System for In vivo Enrichment of Circulating Tumor Cells”, Nature Communications, 2019 Apr 1;10(1):1478. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09439-9.. .*co-corresponding authors

Y Wang, TH Kim, S Fouladdel, Z Zhang, P Soni, A Qin, L Zhao, E Azizi, Nagrath, S, “PD-L1 Expression in Circulating Tumor Cells Increases during Radio (chemo) therapy and Indicates Poor Prognosis in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer”, Nature Scientific Reports 9 (1), 566, 2019

HJ Yoon*, TH Kim*, S Fouladdel, Y Wang, M Kozminsky, C Paoletti, DF Hayes, ML Burness, MS Wicha, E Azizi, S Nagrath. “Molecular Analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells Isolated from Breast Cancer Patients by Graphene Oxide Based Microfluidic Technology”, Advanced BioSystems, 2018.

M Kozminsky, S Fouladdel, E Azizi, T Morgan, S Nagrath. “Microfluidic graphene oxide device reveals circulating tumor cell clusters and stemlike RNA-expression based survival signature in prostate cancer.”, Advanced Science, 2018

Lin E, Rivera L, Fouladdel S,Yoon HJ, Guthrie S, Weiner J, Deol YS, Keller E, Sahai V, Simeone DM, Burness ML, Azizi E, Wicha MS, Nagrath S, “Label-free high throughput microfluidic device for the isolation and single cell multiplex gene expression analysis of circulating tumor cells from breast cancer patients”, Cell Systems, 2017

Murlidhar V, Reddy RM, Fouladdel S, Zhao L, Ishikawa MK, Grabauskiene S, Zhang Z, Lin J, Chang AC, Carrott PW, Lynch WR, Orringer MB, Kumar-Sinha C, Palanisamy N, Beer DG, Wicha MS, Ramnath N, Azizi E, Nagrath S, “Poor Prognosis Indicated by Venous Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Early Stage Lung Cancers”, Cancer Res. 2017.

TW Lo, S Nagrath, “Cancer diagnostics: Extracting extracellular vesicles”. Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, 0061, 2017

Jack RM, Hussain K, RodriguesD, Zenali M, AziziE, WichaM, Simeone DM, Nagrath S, “Microfluidic continuum sorting of sub-populations of tumor cells via surface antibody expression levels”, Lab on a chip, 2017, DOI:10.1039/C6LC01496H

Yoon HJ, Kim TH, Zhang JZ, Azizi E, Pham, TM, Paoletti C, Lin J, Ramnath N, Wicha M,  Hayes DF, Simeone MD, and Nagrath S, “Sensitive capture of circulating tumour cells by functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets”, Nature Nanotechnology, 8 (10), 735-741 (2013) PMCID: PMC4017624.

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*, Sequist L*, MaheswaranS, Bell DW, Irimia D, Ulkus L, Smith MR, Kwak EL, DigumarthyS, 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).

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.