Skip Navigation
Search Menu
Find an Expert


Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D.

Director, Systems Biology Laboratory

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Cancer systems biology; Cancer systems pharmacology; Systems immuno-oncology; Tumor angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis; Cancer drug discovery.


Dr. Aleksander Popel is a professor of biomedical engineering and oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also has joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on systems biology and medicine.

His team is currently engaged in applying the methods of multiscale modeling to problems of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Popel received his master's degree and Ph.D. in mechanics from Moscow University.

He serves on the editorial board of several academic journals, including the American Journal of Cancer Research and Annals of Biomedical Engineering. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the C. Forbes Dewey Distinguished Lectureship in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. He is the author of 250 original manuscripts, chapters and review articles, and is the co-editor of two books. more


  • Director, Systems Biology Laboratory
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Popel's research focuses on the following areas:

Systems Biology of Angiogenesis - Angiogenesis is important in diverse areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, wound healing and tissue engineering. Dr. Popel and his research team are interested in the quantitative understanding of the mechanisms of microvascular network formation under different conditions. Using methods of computational and mathematical biology, they analyze the signaling pathways leading to angiogenesis as well as the cellular mechanisms governing tubulogenesis and network formation.

Blood Flow and Molecular Transport in the Microcirculation - Dr. Popel's lab is formulating computational models of the microcirculation based on anatomical, biophysical and physiological experimental data. These include detailed models of microcirculatory blood flow and molecular transport (e.g., oxygen and nitric oxide) and their regulation, and creation of databases of parameters necessary for model input and validation.

Electromechanical Transduction in the Cochlear Outer Hair Cell - Outer hair cells perform exquisite electromechanical transduction at acoustic frequencies and exhibit a unique form of cell motility. The motility is attributed to membrane-based molecular motors driven by changes in the transmembrane potential. Dr. Popel's lab develops biophysically based computational models of cell mechanics, molecular transport and cell electromotility at the microscopic and nanoscopic (molecular) scales.


Multiscale modeling has emerged in recent years as a powerful methodology to integrate the different levels of biological organization spanning multiple spatial and temporal scales. Dr. Popel and his research team apply the methods of multiscale modeling to problems of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Lab Website: Systems Biology Laboratory

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

D.P. Noren, W.H. Chou, S.H.Lee, A.A. Qutub, A. Warmflash, D.S. Wagner, A.S. Popel, A. Levchenko. VEGF-mediated Ca2+ signaling steers endothelial cell phenotypes by a combination of stochastic and deterministic decoding. Science Signaling, 9:ra20, 2016 (Journal cover). Highlighted in Science Signaling editorial EDITORS' CHOICE: CALCIUM SIGNALING Gough NR, New connections: Interpreting calcium signals Sci. Signal. 23 Feb 2016: Vol. 9, Issue 416, pp. ec42

S.D. Finley, P. Angelikopoulos, P. Koumoutsakos, and A.S. Popel. Pharmacokinetics of anti-VEGF agent aflibercept in cancer predicted by data driven, molecular-detailed model. CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology 4:641–649, 2015.

E. Lee, N.B. Pandey, and A.S. Popel. Crosstalk between cancer cells and blood endothelial and lymphatic endothelial cells in tumour and organ microenvironment. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, 17:e3, 2015.

E. Lee, E. Fertig, K. Jin, S. Sukumar, N.B. Pandey, and A.S. Popel. Breast cancer cells condition lymphatic endothelial cells within pre-metastatic niches to promote metastasis. Nature Communications, 5:4715, 2014.

S.K. Stamatelos, E. Kim, A.P. Pathak, and A.S. Popel. Bioimage informatics aided reconstruction of breast tumor microvasculature and computational predictions of blood flow. Microvasc. Res. 91:8-21, 2014 (Journal cover).

Activities & Honors


  • Fellow, American Heart Association, 2001
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 1994
  • Fellow, American Physiological Society (Cardiovascular Section), 1995
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1992
  • Inaugural Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2005
  • Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society, 1992 - 1995
  • Keynote Overseas Speaker, International Symposium of Next-Generation Integrated Simulation of Living Matter (on the occasion of inauguration of Japan's 10 petaflop K-supercomputer), 2012
  • William H. Huggins Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University
  • The C. Forbes Dewey Distinguished Lectureship in Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011
  • The Robert M. and Mary Haythornthwaite Distinguished Lecturer, Temple University, 2006
  • Keynote Speaker, the 5th International Conference on Computational Bioengineering, 2013
  • Eugene M. Landis Research Award, the Microcirculatory Society, 2009
  • Keynote Speaker, the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) European Union Physiome Project, 2010
  • The A.C. Suhren Lecture, Tulane University, 2009
  • Lecturer, 2004

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Annals of Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Editor, Microcirculation
  • Associate Editor, Microvascular Research
  • Associate Editor, Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Representative, International Union of Physiological Sciences U.S. National Committee
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Representative, FASEB Summer Research Conference Advisory Committee
  • Chair, Biomedical Engineering Society Meetings Oversight Committee
  • Chairman, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellows Selection Committee, 2001 - 2004
  • Co-Chairman, International Union of Physiological Sciences
    Physiome and Systems Biology Committee
  • Committee on Outside Interests, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Editorial Board, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine
  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology (Heart Circ. Physiol.), 1999 - 2005
  • Meritorious Awards Committee, North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO)
  • Multiscale Systems Biology Working Group Co, Interdisciplinary Modeling and Analysis Group
  • Program Chair, Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting, 2005
  • Senior Editorial Board, American Journal of Cancer Research
Is this you? Edit Profile