Virginia Tech® home

John C. Chappell, Ph.D.

John C. Chappell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

John C. Chappell, Ph.D. headshot

“Every minute when someone’s brain is not getting enough blood flow due to stroke or injury, they’re losing neurons. But how much? How many? And can you get them back?”


Studying the molecular characteristics of blood vessels

How do blood vessels develop and change with disease?

Human capillaries are so tiny that red blood cells must travel single-file. They provide every tissue in your body with a channel to deliver nutrients and oxygen, exchange hormones and remove waste. But in some diseases - such as cancer, diabetes, and stroke - these vessels’ ordinary processes can become altered. John Chappell, Ph.D., studies how blood vasculature develops during early organ formation and during certain diseases. Increased insight into the basic mechanisms of blood vessel formation will guide the design of clinical therapies for vascular-related pathologies. 

Trained as a biomedical engineer, Dr. Chappell combines computational modeling with real-time imaging of ex vivo and in vitro models of blood vessel formation to understand how cells called pericytes behave during blood vessel formation in health and disease. Understanding the mechanisms behind pericyte recruitment and investment will provide rationale and guidance for targeting pericyte-endothelial cell interactions for therapeutic benefit.

  • Associate Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Associate Professor, Dept. of Basic Science Education, School of Medicine
  • Associate Professor, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering

Payne LB, Tewari B, Dunkenberger L, Bond S, Savelli A, Darden J, Zhao H, Powell M, Oestreich K, Sontheimer H, Dal-Pra S, Chappell JC. Pericytes Directly Communicate with Emerging Endothelial Cells During VasculogenesisbioRxiv 2020.07.01.180752; (This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review.)

Payne LB, Hoque M, Houk C, Darden J, Chappell JC. Pericytes in Vascular DevelopmentCurr. Tissue Microenviron. Rep. (2020). Invited Review. Currently Epub only.

Corliss BA, Ray HC, Doty RW, Mathews C, Sheybani N, Fitzgerald K, Prince R, Kelly-Goss MR, Murfee WL, Chappell JC, Owens GK, Yates PA, Peirce SM. Pericyte Bridges in Homeostasis and Hyperglycemia. Diabetes. 2020 Jul;69(7):1503-1517. doi: 10.2337/db19-0471. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PubMed PMID: 32321760; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7306121.

Castro R, Taetzsch T, Vaughan SK, Godbe K, Chappell JC, Settlage RE, Valdez G. Specific labeling of synaptic schwann cells reveals unique cellular and molecular featuresElife. 2020 Jun 25;9. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56935. PubMed PMID: 32584256; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7316509.

Chappell JC, Darden J, Payne LB, Fink K, Bautch VL*. Blood Vessel Patterning on Retinal Astrocytes Requires Endothelial Flt-1 (VEGFR-1). J Dev Biol. 2019 Sep 7;7(3). pii: E18. doi: 10.3390/jdb7030018. PubMed PMID: 31500294; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6787756.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Program in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory

  • University of Virginia: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering
  • University of Virginia: M.S., Biomedical Engineering
  • University of Virginia: B.S., Electrical Engineering
  • Outstanding Trainee Oral Presentation, UNC IVB/MHI Research Symposium, 2011
  • Joseph S. Pagano Award for Best Paper by a Postdoctoral Fellow for 2009, First Place, 2010
  • Keystone Symposia Conference on Angiogenesis in Health and Disease, Travel Scholarship, 2010
  • Gordon Research Conference on Angiogenesis, Poster Presentation Award, 2009
  • University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium, First Place, 2007
  • Virginia Nanotech Student Presentation Competition (Finalist), 2006
  • Seven Society Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching (Finalist), 2002


News about John Chappell, Ph.D.  

Recent Media Coverage