Jeff Karp
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

When developing technologies to solve medical problems, one often 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. There are 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 toward global market adoption, and therapeutic strategies to combat inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis that are advancing toward 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 opens new paths to the continual innovation that is so important in our fast-changing world.

About Jeff Karp

Jeff Karp is a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  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-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences Technology.

Karp works in the fields of drug delivery, medical devices, stem cell therapeutics and tissue adhesives. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, with >16,500 citations, and has given over 275 invited lectures. He has over 100 issued or pending national and international patents. Several technologies developed in his laboratory have led to multiple products currently in development or on the market and to the launch of six companies that have raised over $180 million in funding. Technologies include high-tech skincare, tissue adhesives and 3D printed biomedical devices, immunomodulation with biologically responsive materials, small molecule regenerative therapeutics with an initial target of hearing loss, and biomedical devices to improve child safety.

Karp has received over 50 awards and honors. Boston Magazine recently recognized Karp as one of 11 Boston Doctors Making Medical Breakthroughs. The Boston Business Journal recognized him as a Champion in Healthcare Innovation and the MIT 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). He was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows in 2013, and a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in 2018. His work has been selected by Popular Mechanics as one of the Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine. He gave a TEDMED talk at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on bioinspired medical innovation, and since 2015 has been a member of the TEDMED. Karp also won an internal Shark Tank Award judged by Kevin O'Leary (from ABC's Shark Tank).

In addition to his research goals, Karp is dedicated to developing the careers of the next generation of 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 Health Sciences and Technology (HST) McMahon Mentoring Award for being the top mentor of Harvard-MIT students. To date, 20 trainees from his laboratory have secured faculty positions. Karp dedicates significant time to inspiring the next generation through hosting multiple groups of grade- and high-school children at his laboratory each year for lectures and hands-on demonstrations, including schools from Japan, Sweden and France, as well as through lectures at local and national schools.