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Medical Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series, Dr. Jeffrey Karp

Thursday, November 30, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Annenberg 105
Tools for Accelerated Medical Innovation
Jeffrey Karp, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Anesthesia at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School,

When developing technologies to solve medical problems, often one encounters significant hurdles, that at times seem insurmountable. Overcoming these hurdles requires new ways of thinking. One approach is to turn to nature for inspiration. Millions and millions of years of research and development at our fingertips, and all we need to do is look outside to the amazing creatures that inhabit our planet. This talk will explore medical technologies being developed that harness lessons from nature for inspiration, from creatures such as geckos, spider webs, jellyfish, porcupine quills, snails, to spiny headed worms. Another approach is radical simplicity — the art and discipline of reducing a problem to its essence. This tool has been harnessed to develop a new skin care approach that is advancing towards global market adoption, and therapeutic strategies to combat inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis that are advancing towards clinical studies. Some of the technologies that will be described are rapidly advancing to the clinic and some are already on the market helping patients. This talk will dig deep into the process of innovation and mentorship and provide examples for how to maximize value creation and impact in our fast changing world.

Biography: Dr. Jeff Karp is the Distinguished Chair in Clinical Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is also a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and an affiliate faculty member at the Broad Institute and at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Karp was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, Royal Society of Chemistry, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering's College of Fellows, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

He runs a basic research laboratory dedicated to the process of medical innovation that harness lessons from nature for inspiration (Bioinspiration) from creatures such as geckos spider webs, jellyfish, porcupine quills, snails to spiny headed worms. He works in the fields of drug delivery, medical devices, stem cell therapeutics, and tissue adhesives. He has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers, with ~30,000 citations, and has given >300 invited lectures. He has >100 issued or pending national and international patents. Several technologies developed in his lab have led to multiple products currently in development or on the market and for the launch of ten companies that have raised over $550 million in funding. Technologies include high-tech skincare (Skintifique, products sold in pharmacies throughout EU), photocurable technology for tissue reconstruction (Tissium, EU Approval in 2017) and 3D printed biomedical devices, immunomodulation with biologically responsive materials (Alivio Tx, acquired by Puretech Health in 2021), small molecule regenerative therapeutics ($FREQ – NASDAQ), cannabinoid therapeutics (Molecular Infusions acquired by Suterra Wellness in 2019), biomedical devices to improve child safety (Landsdowne Labs), needles that automatically stop at their target to deliver gene therapy (Bullseye Therapeutics, acquired in 2021), and a bioengineered luminal coating for controlled GI targeting (Altrix Bio).

Karp has received >50 awards and honors. Most recently Jeff received the highest award from the Society For Biomaterials for innovation – the Clemson Award for Applied Research. Boston Magazine recognized Karp as one of 11 Boston Doctors Making Medical Breakthroughs. The Boston Business Journal recognized him as a Champion in Healthcare Innovation and MIT's Technology Review Magazine (TR35) also recognized Karp as being one of the top innovators in the world (three members from his laboratory have subsequently received this award). His work has been selected by Popular Mechanic's as one of the Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine. He gave a commencement speech at his high school in 2011, and a TEDMED talk in 2014 on bioinspired medical innovation, and since 2015 has been a member of the TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board. In 2015 and 2016, he received Breakthrough Awards from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and in 2015 was a commencement speaker at the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and Pharmacy. Karp also won an internal Shark Tank award judged by Kevin O'Leary (from ABC's Shark Tank). In 2018 Karp gave a TEDx talk on Radical Simplicity. Furthermore in 2019 Karp was a grade 8 commencement speaker at the Talcott Mountain Academy in Connecticut.

In addition to his research goals, Karp is dedicated to developing the careers of the next generation bioengineers at the forefront of regenerative medicine. He was selected as the Outstanding Faculty Undergraduate Mentor among all faculty at MIT and he received the HST McMahon Mentoring award for being the top mentor of Harvard-MIT students. To date, 30 trainees from his laboratory have secured faculty positions.

Hosted by Professor Mikhail Shapiro

For more information, please contact Christine Garske visit