Eli Vlaisavljevich, associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering and director of the Therapeutic Ultrasound and Noninvasive Therapies Lab at Virginia Tech, has been named the Kendall and Laura Hendrick Junior Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Kendall and Laura Hendrick Junior Faculty Fellowship was established by a donation of Kendall and Laura Hendrick, with support through the Moraco Challenge to retain and promote outstanding faculty. Vlaisavljevich will retain the fellowship for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2017, Vlaisavljevich’s research and scholarship focuses on developing histotripsy as a noninvasive, high precision, and image-guided cancer ablation method.  Under his leadership, an interdisciplinary team is tackling critical problems and making an international impact in clinical medicine, global health, and conservation.

The recently published Phase I clinical trial, named “The Theresa Study” after Vlaisavljevich’s mother who died of liver cancer, was the first study of histotripsy cancer ablation in humans. By studying the physics underlying the histotripsy process, Vlaisavljevich’s lab is developing custom devices for new applications including kidney, pancreatic, breast, soft tissue, bone, and brain cancers. Vlaisavljevich also is developing treatments for cancer in dogs and has a large project developing DNA extraction methods to combat the mass extinction crisis facing the plant and animal kingdoms.

Vlaisavljevich has authored or co-authored more than 70 papers in leading journals and 85 conference presentations, has multiple patents, has given more than 10 invited talks at international universities, and has been a part of research teams that have received approximately $16 million in external funding with roughly $5 million specifically for Vlaisavljevich’s lab. 

Earlier this year, Vlaisavljevich received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The award is the highest honor for faculty serving public and private colleges and universities in the commonwealth.

Vlaisavljevich has advised four Ph.D., four master’s, and six medical degree students to completion. He currently mentors 11 Ph.D. and master’s students, nine medical students, and nine undergraduate students. He has a significant leadership role in the International Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound and is the founding director of the International Society of Ultrasound Student Board.

Vlaisavljevich received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

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