Ioannis K. Zervantonakis, PhD

Dr. Ioannis Zervantonakis is an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Bioengineering Department, and a member of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  Prior to this, Dr. Zervantonakis was at Harvard Medical School where he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Instructor in Cell Biology.

Dr. Zervantonakis received his BSc, in Mechanical Engineering, at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece.  He then attended the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, where he obtained his MSc, Dipl. Ing. Mechanical Engineering.  At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Zervantonakis received his PhD in the lab of Roger Kamm, where his research focused on the design of microfluidic devices to study cancer metastasis. During his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, in the laboratory of Joan Brugge, Dr. Zervantonakis developed systems biology approaches to study drug resistance and tumor-fibroblast interactions. He was awarded the Alexander Onassis Graduate Fellowship, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Postdoctoral Fellowship and a NIH K99 Pathway to Independence award.

Dr. Zervantonakis runs the Tumor Microenvironment Engineering Laboratory (TME Lab) where they employ a quantitative approach that integrates microfluidics, systems biology modeling, and in vivo experiments to investigate the role of the tumor microenvironment on breast and ovarian cancer growth, metastasis, and drug resistance. The goal of the TME lab research program is to discover biomarkers that guide new drug development and improve prognosis; develop new strategies to optimize existing treatment protocols, and engineer microfabricated tools that enable screening and personalization of cancer therapies. Projects in the TME Lab include: 1.) microfluidic and microfabricated assays to model the tumor microenvironment and study tumor, fibroblast and immune cell infiltration; 2.) systems biology approaches to cancer drug resistance and metastasis in breast and ovarian cancer; tumor heterogeneity: 3.) single cell phenotypic decisions; and 4.) localized drug release and gradients within the tumor microenvironment

The TME Lab is supported by a NIH R00 Award (2019-2022), an Elsa Pardee Foundation Award and a pilot award from the Magee Womens’ Research Institute.

View a list of Dr. Zervantonakis’ publications here.

See Dr. Zervantonakis’ lab website here.