Venkata "Ravi" Yelleswarapu

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  • A handheld detector enabling droplet microfluidics
    A handheld detector enabling droplet microfluidics
  • 1000 Droplet makers are integrated onto one device for high-throughput droplet generation
    1000 Droplet makers are integrated onto one device for high-throughput droplet generation
  • RPI Biomedical Engineering REU Poster Symposium (2013)
    RPI Biomedical Engineering REU Poster Symposium (2013)
  • During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to conduct research in many institutions through REUs and internships
    During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to conduct research in many institutions through REUs and internships
  • Sample rendering of a potential design for a combined MRI-CT Scanner, where model designs and field interactions were further simulated via Finite element analysis.
    Sample rendering of a potential design for a combined MRI-CT Scanner, where model designs and field interactions were further simulated via Finite element analysis.
  • Laser Scalpel from OmniGuide, where I worked as a Marketing/Clinical Development Intern.
    Laser Scalpel from OmniGuide, where I worked as a Marketing/Clinical Development Intern.
A handheld detector enabling droplet microfluidics
A handheld detector enabling droplet microfluidics

Career Goals

My goal is to invent microchip-based tools that enable accessibility to medical diagnostics in resource poor settings. Inspired by the success of cell phones in resource limited settings, I am building hybrid microfluidic-electronic systems that embed and automate complex processes into a chip that requires minimal user expertise. Having been born and raised during my childhood in rural India, I have first-hand experience of the dire need for improved tools to diagnose water-borne pathogens or to diagnose Tuberculosis. 


My ambition to tackle these high impact problems requires a broad skillset so I double majored in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering at Boston University, with a Nanotechnology concentration. I am currently pursuing this passion as a second year Bioengineering PhD candidate at UPenn, where I integrate microfluidics, microelectronics, and materials science to create miniaturized platforms for point-of-care diagnosis.


I am actively involved in tech commercialization through programs like Penn Biotech Consulting Group and acting as a Tech Consultant for the Y-Prize competition at Penn.  I am also an active Penn Center for Innovation fellow, where I actively work with Technology licensing officers to evaluate disclosures to understand how Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer work together to create a true societal impact.

PhD Research Projects

Microfluidic Fluorescent Droplet Reader

  • Develop a portable, cost-effective droplet reader that can replace flow cytometers in resource poor settings for potential applications in cell capture, digital PCR, and general microfluidic diagnostics.
  • I've been lucky enough to work with IP Group to spin off this project into a startup where we received our second round of funding during spring 2017. I've learned a great deal about commercializing and what it takes to transform a research idea into a commercial product. While giving live demos is often nerve wracking, it truly shows the robustness and confidence with which we can operate the platform. 

Parallelized Droplet Maker

  • Integrate 10k+ droplet makers on a single 10x10cm^2 chip for high throughput droplet generation.
  • Extend droplet chemistry capabilities by fabricating droplet makers in PDMS, glass, or silicon

MicroPore Filter for Rare Cell Capture

  • Immunomagnetically capture rare cells in blood using permalloy filters at high flow rates for early detection in clinically relevant turnaround times.

I have several projects on the side where I am currently working on integrating droplet sorting for downstream analysis, using COMSOL to model microfluidic interactions with the magnetic materials we build, and how to truly shrink microfluidic setups that are burdened by syringe pumps and automate them into portable devices. 


Selected Projects from Undergrad

Microfluidic Assembly for Point of Care Diagnostics

We built a Bluetooth enabled, Arduino reader for automated diagnosis of transparency changes in microfluidic devices. 


EC327 Software Engineering - Android Project

We created an android app to test how "drunk" users were based on a set of tests gauging logic, balance, and reaction. 


EC311 Logic Design - Pong

Using an FPGA board and Verilog, we recreated the classic Pong with many more features.


BE491 - "Snake Eyes"

For our Biomedical Instrumentation, we used an Elecro-oculogram to measure changes in voltage as the eyes moved to control the Snake in the classic game.