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Rao Gullapalli, PhD, MBA

Professor, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine
Associate Vice Chair for Research & Member of the Department's Executive Leadership Committee
Director, Core for Translational Research in Imaging @ Maryland (C-TRIM)
Director, Center for Metabolic Imaging and Therapeutics (CMIT)

In Memoriam

Photo of Dr. Gullapalli enjoying a moment outside

Rao Gullapalli, PhD, MBA 
August 28, 1958-April 18, 2023

It is with profound sadness that we relate this news. Rao P. Gullapalli, PhD, MBA passed away on April 18, 2023 from complications of cancer. Dr. Gullapalli was a beloved and highly regarded professor in the School of Medicine. He joined the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine in 1996 as an assistant professor and over the past twenty-seven years served as a teacher, mentor and thesis advisor for students, residents, fellows and postdocs.

Dr. Gullapalli earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemical engineering, a doctoral degree in instrumental sciences, and an MBA degree from Case Western Reserve University. At the clinical level, Dr. Gullapalli was responsible for optimizing clinical imaging protocols, implementing quality assurance procedures for diagnostic imaging, and ensuring that clinical MRI research was performed at the state-of-the-art level.

His institutional service was vast and far-reaching, serving as the department’s Vice Chair for Research and Director of the Center for Metabolic Imaging & Therapeutics (CMIT) as well as the Director of UMB’s Core for Translational Research in Imaging @ Maryland (C-TRIM). He was part of the leadership team of the University of Maryland Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, serving as Director of the Imaging Shared Service. He was instrumental in forming UMSOM’s Center for Advanced Imaging Research (CAIR), which he recruited the best and the brightest to join. 

Dr. Gullapalli authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, spoke nationally and internationally as an authority of magnetic resonance imaging, served as the senior editor of Journal of Medical Robotics Research, and held twelve patents. Not only was he continually funded with federal and foundation awards for more than twenty-five years, but he was also instrumental in assisting junior faculty in securing funding. He served on multiple NIH Review panels including the Academic Industrial Partnership. It is not an exaggeration to say that Dr. Gullapalli transformed medical imaging research in both the department and the School of Medicine.

While his academic achievement is staggering, it is Dr. Gullapalli’s steadfast kindness, unwavering generosity of his time and talents with others, and seemingly inherent unwillingness to complain that stands out and will be so missed by the faculty and staff in the School of Medicine and especially in the Department of Radiology. As one of his closest friends and colleagues said, “Rao lived for everybody else. It was never about him. That was true in research and in his personal life. His kindness and generosity shone through till the very end.”

In the Media

In-Memoriam: Rao P., Gullapalli, PhD, MBA
University of Maryland School of Medicine