Rama Gullapalli, MD, PhD, FCAP

Rama Gullapalli, MD, PhD, FCAP

Faculty Titles
Assistant Professor
Department of Pathology

Cancer Specialty
Pathology

Research Program
Cellular and Molecular Oncology

Medical School
Armed Forces Medical College, India (1999)

Graduate School
Pennsylvania State University (2005) Electrical Engineering

Residency
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2011)Pathology

Fellowship
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2012) Molecular Genetic Pathology

Expertise, Certifications and Memberships
Professional Membership in the Center of Biomedical Engineering

Medical Director of Translational Pathology Research Lab
Medical Director of Biomedical Informatics, Department of Pathology

Personal Statement

My educational background includes a PhD degree in bioengineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. The primary focus of my work at Penn State was the use of experimental and computational techniques to study molecular diffusion in cell and synthetic lipid bilayers. After my PhD, I moved to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to pursue a residency in the field of pathology. I also completed a fellowship in molecular genetic pathology at UPMC to cement my credentials as a clinical molecular pathologist. Throughout my residency and fellowship, I was actively involved in solving problems related to large genomic dataset analysis. Prior computer programming experience from my PhD proved to be invaluable in understanding large dataset analysis problems of next generation sequencing in molecular pathology. I currently serve as the medical director of biomedical informatics in addition to being a tenure track physician-scientist in the departments of Pathology, Chemical and Biological Engineering at UNM.

My academic career goal is to establish a NIH funded research program with a focus on translational hepatobiliary cancer biology. More specifically, I am interested in the basic and applied research of gallbladder and liver cancer due to the high incidence of these cancers among the Hispanic and Native American Indian minority populations of New Mexico. Research in my lab examines two different areas of cancer biology: 1) Exploring the environment-inflammation interactions in gallbladder and liver cancer causation using a combined experimental-bioinformatics approach 2) understanding the specific phenomenon of epithelial- mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular cancer. We are interested in the specific role of heavy metal exposures in biliary tract cancers including gallbladder cancer. My lab is examining various aspects of gallbladder and liver cancer biology using next generation sequencing and bioinformatics based analysis methods. My previous educational background in engineering and medicine provide me with a unique perspective to solve the challenges of implementation of high-throughput, personalized medicine technologies in a clinical and research setting. The long term goal of my research lab is to provide unique solutions to the challenges of personalized health care implementation in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics with a specific focus on hepatobiliary cancers.