Peoria City Council At-Large Candidate
Dr. Kiran Velpula is a cancer researcher and Peoria city council member who has dedicated his career to improving the lives of others. As an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria and the head of the Velpula Neuro-Oncology Lab, Velpula is at the forefront of cancer research, working to find new treatments for brain cancers and publishing 39 scientific papers on the subject. Velpula's dedication to cancer research has been recognized with numerous awards, including the UICOMP's 2016-2017 Outstanding Research Award and an International Outstanding Faculty Award. He is also a member of multiple international cancer research societies and an Early Career Reviewer in molecular oncogenesis at the National Institutes of Health.
But Velpula's impact extends beyond the laboratory. As an at-large member of the Peoria City Council, he is dedicated to improving the city for all its residents. Velpula was initially appointed to the council in June 2021 to fill a seat vacated by then-Peoria Mayor-elect Rita Ali. He was chosen unanimously for the position by the Peoria City Council. Velpula is running for re-election to continue his work on the council. He has focused on talent development in Peoria by working with educational institutions and creating a biotech corridor in the city to attract biotech professionals and integrate with the established healthcare system. Velpula has also supported a temporary moratorium on cannabis dispensary expansion and believes that Peoria's medical community should be used to drive job growth and talent attraction.
Velpula and his wife, Swapna Asuthkar, grew up in southern India before moving to Peoria for job opportunities at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. They were drawn to Peoria by the good jobs, competitive pay, and thriving Indian/Asian community, and they have made Peoria their home for over a decade. Velpula is committed to giving back to the Peoria community and is involved with several organizations in the city, including the Government Affairs Committee of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors of the Center for Prevention and Abuse.
He also volunteers with Peoria Public Schools' Horizons Club program and works closely with the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind, which raises money for brain cancer research. He has received several local honors, including being recognized as a Jaycees Illinois Top 10 Young Professionals of Illinois-Medical Innovation and being named one of Peoria Magazine's "40 Leaders Under 40".
Velpula is married with one son and lives in Dunlap, Illinois.