Breaking Biotech Boundaries: A Scholar’s Journey Unveiled

In the dynamic realm of biomedical research, Shilpi Agrawal, Ph.D., stands as a beacon of innovation and scholarly dedication, weaving together a tapestry of academic accomplishments and groundbreaking research. From the early roots of her education at St. Xavier’s College in Ahmedabad, India, to her current role as a Post-doctoral Scholar at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Shilpi’s trajectory reflects a relentless pursuit of knowledge and a commitment to transformative research.

Mastering Research Marvels: From Microscopy to Medicinal Plants

Shilpi’s journey commenced with a profound realization sparked by the challenges within India’s healthcare system. Witnessing the shortcomings during hospital visits fueled her passion for contributing positively to healthcare. This ignited her pursuit of biotechnology, where she honed essential skills in microscopy, plant tissue culture techniques, and engaged in impactful research. Noteworthy among her achievements during this phase was her participation in a plant tissue culture project, recognized at a national symposium, affirming her dedication to research.

Ph.D. Brilliance: Illuminating Wound Healing Pathways

Advancing to her master’s studies, Shilpi delved into projects exploring microbial heavy metal removal and the antioxidative potential of medicinal plants. Her dissertation investigated the synthesis and characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles, showcasing her multidisciplinary approach to challenges in colorectal cancer research. The transition to the University of Arkansas for her Ph.D. marked a pivotal chapter, where under the mentorship of Dr. Suresh Kumar Thallapuranam, she explored the development of a bioactive variant of human acidic fibroblast growth factor, illuminating novel avenues in wound healing research.

Accolades Galore: A Scholar’s Trail of Excellence

Shilpi’s academic prowess is underscored by numerous accolades, including the Eklavya Scholarship of Excellence, a gold medal for research performance, and recognition at the XXXIII National Symposium on Plant Tissue Culture. Throughout her academic journey, she displayed a commitment to pushing boundaries, evident in her robust publication record.


1. Iyer, S., Rao, R., Agrawal, S.(2023) Biomarkers for mitochondrial and metabolic disorders. Application number 63/441,710.

2. Chen, J., T. Wang, I. Niyonshuti, T, K, S. Kumar, R. K. Gundampati, S. Agrawal, K. Quin, and J. Jones (2019) Biocompatible and biodegradable anionic hydrogel system. US Provisonal patent: US PCT 20190343959.

3. Kumar, T. K. S., S. Agrawal, R. K. Gundampati, S. Jayanthi, T. Wang, J. Jones, O. Kolenc, N. Lam, I. Niyonshuti, K. Balachandran, K. Quin, J. Chen (2018) Engineered FGF1 and FGF2 compositions and methods of use thereof. US Provisonal Patent: US PCT- 5965-00085.


1. Agrawal, S., Govind Kumar, V., Gundampati, R.K. et al. Characterization of the structural forces governing the reversibility of the thermal unfolding of the human acidic fibroblast growth factor. Sci Rep 11, 15579 (2021).

2. Maity, S., Al-Ameer, M., Gundampati, R. K., Agrawal, S., & Kumar, T. K. S. (2021). Heparin-Binding Affinity Tag: A Novel Affinity Tag for Simple and Efficient Purification of Recombinant Proteins. In Protein Downstream Processing (pp. 311-328). Humana, New York, NY.

3. Kerr R, Agrawal S, Maity S, Koppolu B, Jayanthi S, Kumar GS, Gundampati RK, McNabb DS, Zaharoff DA, Kumar TK. Design of a thrombin resistant human acidic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF1) variant that exhibits enhanced cell proliferation activity. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2019 Oct 15;518(2):191-6.

4. Mohan S, Thiagarajan K, Sundaramoorthy B, Gurung V, Barpande M, Agarwal S, Chandrasekaran R. Alleviation of 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide induced oxidative stress by Oroxylum indicum (L.) leaf extract in albino Wistar rats. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2016 Dec 1;16(1):229.

Postdoctoral Prowess: CRISPR-Cas9 and Beyond

In her current role as a Post-doctoral Scholar, Shilpi is engaged in cutting-edge research projects with Dr. Christopher Nelson. Her work spans diverse areas, from the delivery challenges of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing for Duchenne muscular dystrophy to targeting dendritic cells with non-immunogenic lipid nanoparticles for immune tolerance induction in Type 1 Diabetes. Her contributions extend to exploring novel safe-harbor sites for targeted genome integration and investigating the adaptive immune response in skeletal muscle during gene correction.

Professional Engagements: From Labs to Societies

Shilpi’s involvement in professional societies like the Biophysical Society and the American Heart Association, coupled with her honors and awards, reflects her commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific advancements. As she envisions her future, Shilpi is resolute in her pursuit of the PhRMA Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, aiming to further catalyze her evolution into an adept academic researcher. She has also won a Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) grant for her LNP-RNP project and received an Innovator’s award in Oct 2023 for her patent on super acidic fibroblast growth factor.

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