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Rockford Draper

Rockford Draper

Professor - Biological Sciences

Professional Preparation

Postdoc - Cell Biology
University of California at San Diego - 1980
Ph.D. - Biological Chemistry
University of California at Los Angeles - 1974
B.A. - Chemistry
University of Washington - 1968

Research Areas

Research Interests
Dr. Draper's research interests are the molecular mechanisms of membrane trafficking in eukaryotic cells and, in recent years, the interaction of engineered nanoparticles with mammalian cells.  One current project focuses on biomedical applications of targeted carbon nanoparticles.  For example, the carbon nanoparticles we study (mainly carbon nanotubes and graphene oxide) absorb near infrared light and convert it to heat.  If the particles are targeted to cancer cells and irradiated with near infrared light, the heat generated can kill the cancer cells. A second general area of interest is the nascent field of nanotoxicity.  The use of various nanoparticles in consumer products and elsewhere is increasing dramatically, but the potential toxicity of nano-scale materials is often difficult to test and predict.  We have been developing methods and approaches to analyze the toxicity of engineered nanoparticles. 


Karimi S., Troeung M., Wang R., Draper R., and Pantano P. 2018. Acute and chronic toxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles in chemical mechanical planarization slurries with Daphnia magna. Environ Sci-Nano 5:1670-1684.  2018 - Publication
Wang R., Lee M., Kinghorn K., Hughes T., Chuckaree I., Lohray R., Chow E., Pantano P., and Draper R. 2018. Quantitation of cell-associated carbon nanotubes: selective binding and accumulation of carboxylated carbon nanotubes by macrophages. Nanotoxicology 12:677-690.  2018 - Publication
 Pantano, P., Harrison, C.D., Poulose J., Urrabazo, D., Norman, T.Q., Braun, E.I., Draper, R.K., and Overzet, L.J. 2017. Factors affecting the 13.56-MHz radio-frequency-mediated heating of gold nanoparticles. Applied Spectroscopy Reviews 52: 821-836.  2017 - Publication
Murali, V.S., Wang, R., Mikoryak, C.A., Pantano, P., and Draper, R.K. 2016. The impact of subcellular location on the near infrared-mediated thermal ablation of cells by targeted carbon nanotubes. Nanotechnology 27: 425102 (15pp).  Doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/42/425102.  2016 - Publication
Braun, E.I., Draper, R., Pantano, P.  2016. Enriched surface acidity for surfactant-free suspensions of carboxylated carbon nanotubes purified by centrifugation. Anal Chem Res 8: 26-33.  Doi:  10.1016/j.ancr.2016.04.001.  2016 - Publication
Wang, R., Meredith, A.N., Lee, M., Jr., Deutsch, D., Miadzvedskaya, L., Braun, E., Pantano, P., Harper, S., and Draper, R.  2016. Toxicity assessment and bioaccumulation in zebrafish embryos exposed to carbon nanotubes suspended in Pluronic® F-108. Nanotoxicology 10: 689-98  doi: 10.3109/17435390.2015.110714  2016 - Publication
Speed D., Westerhoff P., Sierra-Alvarez R., Draper R., Pantano P., et al. 2015. Physical, chemical, and in vitro toxicological characterization of nanoparticles in chemical mechanical planarization suspensions used in the semiconductor industry: towards environmental health and safety assessments. Environ Sci-Nano 2: 227-44.  doi: 10.1039/c5en00046g.  2015 - Publication
Murali, V. S., R. Wang, C. A. Mikoryak, P. Pantano, and R. Draper. 2015.  Rapid Detection of Polyethylene Glycol Sonolysis upon Functionalization of Carbon Nanomaterials.  Exp. Biol. Med.(Maywood) 240: 1147-51.  doi: 10.1177/1535370214567615  2015 - publications

Additional Information

Graduate and Posdoctoral Advisors
  • Ph.D. advisor, Professor John Edmond, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Postdoctoral advisor, Professor Melvin I. Simon, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
74 publications in related fields
Ph.D. Students Graduated
Donald O'Keefe, 1985
Mary K. Marnell, 1986
Shang-Pwu Shia, 1986
P. Fred Kruse, 1987
Russell Wilson, 1987
Penelope Colbaugh, 1988
Ru-Hung Wang, 1990
Elizabeth Rutledge, 1991
G. Jilani Chaudry, 1991
Chia-Yi Kao, 1991
Mu-Yeh Bau, 1993
Michael Corboy, 1998
R. Tod Hudson,1998
Tonghuan Hu, 1999
Alice Chen, 2002
Ramzey Abu-Jarour, 2005
Garima Dixit, 2008
Vasanth Murali, 2015
Sarah Karimi, 2018

News Articles

A Fish Tale: Prof’s Photo Earns Kudos in International Contest
A Fish Tale: Prof’s Photo Earns Kudos in International Contest Rockford Draper, a UT Dallas faculty member, was recognized in an international photography contest for an underwater image he snapped of a rare magenta-colored, stone-faced tropical fish.

Each spring, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science hosts an underwater photography contest open to amateur photographers around the globe. More than 700 photos from 20 countries were submitted to the 2012 contest. Photographs were judged by professional photographers and marine scientists in five categories: fish or marine animal portrait, macro, wide angle, student and best overall.


Synergistic Activities
  1. Organized an interdisciplinary bio-nanotechnology group in 2002 that met every week to bring together scientists with diverse backgrounds in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  2. Helped co-found a company, Medical Nanotechnologies, Inc., to translate research into the private sector.  
  3. PI on an NSF Science and Technology Center preproposal to establish a "Center for Bioengineering and Materials Science" at UT Dallas (not awarded, but nevertheless a rewarding experience).
  4. Participated in team teaching a core biochemistry course to undergraduate students and a core cell biology course to graduate students. Recently developed a course in bio-nanotechnology.