Amal specialises in investigating the therapeutic aspects of the focused ultrasound mediated gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases.

​His research aims to develop ultrasound-mediated drug delivery strategies for neurodegenerative diseases using nanocarriers. Most of the neurodegenerative diseases are difficult to treat due to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood spinal cord barrier (BSCB), which prevents certain drugs from passing the bloodstream to the brain and spinal cord. Using the focused ultrasound (FUS) these barriers are safely open so that therapeutic cargo containing nanocarriers can be delivered effectively. The efficacy of these drug loaded nanocarriers will be evaluated using PET/MRI imaging modalities and immunohistochemistry studies.

​Amal completed a Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering (2006-2010) at Kerala University, followed by a Master's degree in Nanotechnology (2010-2012) at Amrita University, where he completed a research project under the supervision of Prof. Manozoor Koyakutty involving radiofrequency ablation of cancer cells using graphene nanoparticles. Following this, he was appointed Lecturer at the National Institute of Technology-Calicut's School of Biotechnology (2012-2013). In 2013, he joined the Amrita Centre for Nanomedicine as a Senior Research Fellow to further his research on nanocarrier mediated drug delivery for stomach cancer under the supervision of Prof. Jayakumar Rangaswamy in the Nano Drug Delivery Lab. He completed his PhD (2016-2020) at CAI/AIBN (UQ) under Prof. Kristofer Thurecht studying the effect of different ligand densities on the distribution of nanocarriers in vitro and in vivo. He joined the Prof. Terry Rabbitts’s lab in the Institute of Cancer Research London, as Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-2022) working on intracellular antibody assisted small molecule discovery project funded by Blood Cancer UK, and by the Kay Kendall Leukemia Fund. His current research focuses on the therapeutic aspects of focused ultrasound-mediated gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases funded by the FightMND Foundation, in collaboration with Professor Kris Thurecht, Dr. Kara Vine-Perrow, Prof. Justin Yerbury and Prof. Anthony White at the University of Queensland and the University of Wollongong.

Key Publications

  1. Sivaram, A. J., Wardiana, A., Alcantara, A., Sonderegger, S. E., Fletcher, N. L., Houston, Z. H., Howard, C. B., Mahler, S. M., Alexander, C., Kent, S. J., Bell, C. B., & Thurecht, K. J. Controlling the biological fate of micellar nanoparticles: Balancing stealth and targeting. ACS Nano, 14(10), 13739-13753. DOI:
  2. Sivaram, A. J., Wardiana, A., Preethi, S.H., Fuchs, A.V., Howard, C.B., Fletcher, N.L., Bell, C.A, & Thurecht, K. J. (2020). Effect of Chain‐End Chemistries on the Efficiency of Coupling Antibodies to Polymers Using Unnatural Amino Acids.. Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 41(21), 2000294. DOI:
  3. Sivaram, A. J., Wardiana, A., Howard, C. B., Mahler, S. M., & Thurecht, K. J. (2018). Recent advances in the generation of antibody nanomaterial conjugates. Advanced healthcare materials, 7(1), 1700607. DOI:
  4. Sivaram, A. J., Geetha, P., Jayakumar, R., & Mohan, C. G. (2016). Integration of in silico modelling, prediction by binding energy and experimental approach to study the amorphous chitin nanocarriers for cancer drug delivery. Carbohydrate polymers, 142, 240-249. DOI:
  5. Sivaram, A. J., Rajitha, P., Maya, S., Jayakumar, R., & Sabitha, M. (2015). Nanogels for delivery, imaging and therapy. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, 7(4), 509-533. DOI:
  6. Sivaram, A. J., Sasidharan, A., Retnakumari, A. P., Chandran, P., Malarvizhi, G. L., Nair, S., & Koyakutty, M. (2015). Radiofrequency ablation of drug‐resistant cancer cells using molecularly targeted carboxyl‐functionalized biodegradable graphene. Advanced healthcare materials, 4(5), 679-684. DOI: