Marjan Rafat, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D., Engineering Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MassachusettsS.M., Engineering Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MassachusettsS.B., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Office Address
ESB 426
Nashville, TN 37212
Research Description
Our current studies focus on the effect of radiation and surgery on tumor and immune cell migration, the molecular profiles of tissues wounded from therapy, and the biomechanical properties of tissues following therapy. We use pre-clinical breast cancer models, multiple non-invasive imaging modalities, and biomaterials to probe the reasons behind tumor cell recruitment to specific tissues. For more information, see our website:
Research Keywords
Breast cancer; Cell motility and migration; Normal tissue response to radiation; Tumor microenvironment
Zanganeh S, Georgala P, Corbo C, Arabi L, Ho JQ, Javdani N, Sepand MR, Cruickshank K, Campesato LF, Weng CH, Hemayat S, Andreou C, Alvim R, Hutter G, Rafat M, Mahmoudi M. Immunoengineering in glioblastoma imaging and therapy. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2019 Aug 8/12/2019; e1575.

Alves SM, Zhu T, Shostak A, Rossen NS, Rafat M. Studying Normal Tissue Radiation Effects using Extracellular Matrix Hydrogels. J Vis Exp. 2019 Jul 7/24/2019; (149).

Simmons DA, Lartey FM, Schueler E, Rafat M, King G, Kim A, Ko R, Semaan S, Gonzalez S, Jenkins M, Pradhan P, Shih Z, Wang J, von Eyben R, Graves EE, Maxim PG, Longo FM, Loo BW. Reduced cognitive deficits after FLASH irradiation of whole mouse brain are associated with less hippocampal dendritic spine loss and neuroinflammation. Radiother Oncol. 2019 Jun 6/25/2019.

Hacker BC, Gomez JD, Batista CAS, Rafat M. Growth and Characterization of Irradiated Organoids from Mammary Glands. J Vis Exp. 2019 May 5/3/2019; (147).

Wisdom KM, Adebowale K, Chang J, Lee JY, Nam S, Desai R, Rossen NS, Rafat M, Hodgson L, Chaudhuri O. Matrix Mechanical Plasticity Regulates Cancer Cell Migration through Confining Microenvironments. Nat Comm. 2018; 9(1): 4144.

Rafat M, Aguilera TA, Vilalta M, Bronsart LL, Soto LA, von Eyben R, Golla MA, Ahrari Y, Afghahi A, Jenkins MJ, Kurian AW, Horst KC, Giaccia AJ, Graves EE. Macrophages Promote Circulating Tumor Cell-Mediated Local Recurrence Following Radiation Therapy in Immunosuppressed Patients. Cancer Res. 2018; 78(15): 4241-52.

Vilalta M, Brune JE, Rafat M, Soto LA, Graves EE. The Role of Granulocyte Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) in Radiation-Induced Tumor Cell Migration. Clin Exp Met. 2018; 35(4): 247-54.

Rafat M*, Dabagh M*, Heller M, Rabinov J, Stone HA, Randles A, Auguste DT. Impact of Diversity of Morphological Characteristics and Reynolds number on Local Hemodynamics in Basilar Aneurysms. AIChE J. 2018; 64(7): 2792-802. *Equal contribution.

Lartey FM*, Rafat M*, Negahdar M, Malkovskiy AV, Dong X, Sun X, Li M, Doyle T, Rajadas J, Graves EE, Loo BW Jr., Maxim PG. Dynamic CT Imaging of Volumetric Changes in Pulmonary Nodules Correlates with Physical Measurements of Stiffness. Radiother Oncol. 2017; 122(2): 313-8. *Equal contribution.

Schueler E, Trovati S, King G, Lartey FM, Rafat M, Villegas M, Praxel AJ, Loo BW Jr., Maxim PG. Experimental Platform for Ultra-high Dose Rate FLASH Irradiation of Small Animals using a Clinical Linear Accelerator. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017; 97(1): 195-203.

Aguilera TA, Rafat M, Castellini L, Shehade H, Kariolis MS, Hui A, Stehr H, von Eyben R, Jiang D, Ellies LG, Koong AC, Diehn M, Rankin EB, Graves EE, Giaccia AJ. Reprogramming the Immunological Microenvironment Through Radiation and Targeting Axl. Nat Comm. 2016; 7: 13898.

You JO*, Rafat M*, Almeda D, Maldonado N, Guo P, Nabzdyk CS, Chun M, LoGerfo FW, Hutchinson JW, Pradhan-Nabzdyk LK, Auguste DT. PH-Responsive Scaffolds Generate a Pro-Healing Response. Biomaterials. 2015; 57: 22-32. *Equal contribution. Highlighted in Materials Today. May 21, 2015.

Rafat M, Ali R, Graves EE. Imaging Radiation Response in Tumor and Normal Tissue. AJNMMI. 2015; 5(4): 317-32.

Vilalta M, Rafat M, Giaccia AJ, Graves EE. Recruitment of Circulating Breast Cancer Cells Is Stimulated by Radiotherapy. Cell Rep. 2014; 8(2): 402-9.