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

Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D.

Director, Systems Biology Laboratory
Professor of Biomedical Engineering

See Research on Pubmed | See Research on Google Scholar



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

Centers & Institutes

  • Basic Biomedical Sciences, Institute for
  • Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research Interests

Systems biology and medicine; Computational biology; Angiogenesis; Microcirculation; Angiogenesis- and lymphangiogenesis-dependent diseases; Experimental in vitro and in vivo studies in 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.


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    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.

    Selected Publications View all on PubMed

    1. Imoukhuede PI, Popel AS. "Quantitative fluorescent profiling of VEGFRs reveals tumor cell and endothelial cell heterogeneity in breast cancer xenografts." Cancer Med. 2014 Apr;3(2):225-44. doi: 10.1002/cam4.188. Epub 2014 Jan 22.
    2. Stamatelos SK, Kim E, Pathak AP, Popel AS. "A bioimage informatics based reconstruction of breast tumor microvasculature with computational blood flow predictions." Microvasc Res. 2014 Jan;91:8-21. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2013.12.003. Epub 2013 Dec 14.
    3. Vempati P, Popel AS, Mac Gabhann F. "Extracellular regulation of VEGF: Isoforms, proteolysis, and vascular patterning." Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2014 Feb;25(1):1-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2013.11.002. Epub 2013 Nov 27. Review.
    4. Logsdon EA, Finley SD, Popel AS, Gabhann FM. "A systems biology view of blood vessel growth and remodelling." J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Nov 17. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12164. [Epub ahead of print]
    5. Tan WH, Popel AS, Mac Gabhann F. "Computational model of VEGFR2 pathway to ERK activation and modulation through receptor trafficking." Cell Signal. 2013 Dec;25(12):2496-510. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.08.015. Epub 2013 Aug 29.


    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.

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    Keynote Speaker, the 5th International Conference on Computational Bioengineering, 2013

    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

    The C. Forbes Dewey Distinguished Lectureship in Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

    Keynote Speaker, the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) European Union Physiome Project, 2010

    Eugene M. Landis Research Award, the Microcirculatory Society, 2009

    The A.C. Suhren Lecture, Tulane University, 2009

    The Robert M. and Mary Haythornthwaite Distinguished Lecturer, Temple University, 2006

    Kawasaki Medical Society Lecturer, 2004

    Inaugural Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2005

    Fellow, American Heart Association, Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, 2001

    Fellow, American Physiological Society (Cardiovascular Section), 1995

    Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 1994

    Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1992

    Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society, 1992 - 1995

    William H. Huggins Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University

    Professional Activities

    Committee on Outside Interests, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

    Senior Editorial Board, American Journal of Cancer Research

    Associate Editor, Annals of Biomedical Engineering

    Associate Editor, Microcirculation

    Associate Editor, Microvascular Research

    Associate Editor, Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering

    Editorial Board, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine

    Co-Chairman, Physiome and Systems Biology Committee, International Union of Physiological Sciences

    Member, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Academic Council

    Biomedical Engineering Society Representative, International Union of Physiological Sciences U.S. National Committee

    Chair, Biomedical Engineering Society Meetings Oversight Committee

    Biomedical Engineering Society Representative, FASEB Summer Research Conference Advisory Committee

    Meritorious Awards Committee, North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO)

    Multiscale Systems Biology Working Group Co-Lead, Interdisciplinary Modeling and Analysis Group

    Member-at-Large, U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Physiological Sciences at the NAS, 2001 - 2006

    Program Chair, Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting, 2005

    Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology (Heart Circ. Physiol.), 1999 - 2005

    Chairman, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellows Selection Committee, 2001 - 2004

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    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Oncology - Breast Cancer
    • Medicine

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