Titles and Affiliations

Joseph M. Pettit Endowed Chair
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar
Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia

Research area

Improving immunotherapy in breast cancer.


Immunotherapies are revolutionizing oncology by providing a new method to target tumors: they activate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer. One type of immunotherapy, known as cellular immunotherapy, cultivates a patient’s own immune cells, manipulates them in the laboratory so that they become cancer-killing machines, and reintroduces them to the patient. They are highly effective in blood cancers but not in most “solid” cancers like breast cancer. The primary challenge is that cellular immunotherapies largely fail to infilitrate and remain inside the tumor, which prevents them from working effectively. In addition, real-time tracking of the cells once they are inside patients is not feasible, which makes it difficult to understand how they are functioning and how we can continue to improve their use as therapies. Dr. Emelianov and his team are generating a new approach that will allow for direct delivery of cellular immunotherapies to the tumors, and enable monitoring of the cells’ location through imaging.

What’s next

The team aims to engineer T cells (a type of immune cell) with photomagnetic nanoparticles. Thus far, they successfully attached these nanoparticles to the surface of T cells without interfering with the cells’ ability to function. The nanoparticles are engineered to be visible through medical imaging, such ultrasound and MRI, and magnetic which means they can be guided to a target site—like tumors—by applying an external magnetic field to the tissue. This essentially would force cellular immunotherapies to home to tumors, with the aim of improving their accumulation, retention, and therapeutic outcomes. In the current funding year, Dr. Emelianov and his team will test their technolology and assess imaging biomarkers (like tumor volume, blood flow and oxygenation, tissue stiffness, etc.) to provide feedback on therapeutic outcomes and identify treatment responders.


Dr. Stanislav Emelianov is a Joseph M. Pettit Endowed Chair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also appointed at Emory University School of Medicine where he is affiliated with Winship Cancer Institute, Department of Radiology, and other clinical units. Furthermore, Dr. Emelianov is Director of the Ultrasound Imaging and Therapeutics Research Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology focused on the translation of diagnostic imaging & therapeutic instrumentation, and nanobiotechnology for clinical applications.

Dr. Emelianov’s career has been devoted to the development of advanced imaging methods, assisting treatment planning, and enhancing image-guided therapy and monitoring of the treatment outcome. He is specifically interested in intelligent biomedical imaging and sensing and has developed approaches for image-guided molecular therapy and therapeutic applications of ultrasound and electromagnetic energy. Dr Emelianov has pioneered several ultrasound-based imaging techniques including shear wave elasticity imaging and molecular photoacoustic imaging. Projects in Dr. Emelianov's laboratory, which focuses on cancer and other diseases, range from molecular imaging to functional imaging and tissue differentiation, from drug delivery and release to image-guided surgery and intervention.

Dr. Emelianov is a nationally recognized expert in biomedical imaging instrumentation and nanoagents for imaging and therapy. He is the author of over 500 publications including peer-reviewed research articles, invited reviews, book chapters, and conference proceedings. In recognition of his contributions to the field, Dr. Emelianov was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is past Vice-President for Ultrasonics of the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, and senior member of several professional organizations.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Delta Air Lines Award

Areas of Focus