Her adventure is making the world healthier

Surya Mallapragada.

Tens of millions. That's the number of people Surya Mallapragada has the potential to impact with the groundbreaking biomedical research she and her students are conducting at Iowa State. From cancer treatments to new vaccine technologies, her research's potential really knows no bounds.

For nearly two decades, Mallapragada has been researching bio and bio-inspired materials in the hopes of improving the health of people everywhere. Said Mallapragada, the Carol Vohs Johnson Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, "There's a lot of value these materials can add, but the interactions of these materials with biology aren't well understood. I think we're doing a better job of gaining that understanding."

This understanding is leading to some pretty amazing results, like the ability to create artificial organs and tissue and produce smart polymers that are ideal for delivering genes to cancer cells. But how does the team know what kind of materials to construct? They look to nature for inspiration. "If we can achieve the level of control seen in nature, imagine all the things we could do," said Mallapragada, once named by MIT Technology Review magazine as one of the World's Top 100 Young Innovators.

It's this kind of imagination and willingness to explore that Iowa State professors are known for -- in every department from engineering to architecture. And what's even better is that oftentimes they're inviting students to join them on their research adventures. Our professors aren't just dreaming about making the world a better place. They're doing it. And on your Iowa State adventure, you'll discover that you can too.

Learn about other Cyclones and their adventures and nominate a Cyclone whose adventure story needs to be shared.