Jeffrey Karp

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Jeff Karp
Jeffrey Karp.jpg
Jeffrey Karp
Residence United States
Nationality Canada
Fields Bioinspired medical problem solver, Tissue adhesives, Biomedical engineering, Mesenchymal stem cell therapy
Institutions Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater McGill University, University of Toronto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisor John Davies & Molly Shoichet
Other academic advisors Robert S. Langer

Jeff Karp is a Canadian–born biomedical engineer. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the principal faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Affiliate Faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He is also an affiliate faculty at the Broad Institute.

Karp has co-founded four medical companies, including Skintifique, which develops products for those with skin ailments or damaged/sensitive skin, Gecko Biomedical which develops hydrophobic light-activated adhesives (a type of surgical glue intended to augment or replace sutures), Alivio Therapeutics, which develops inflammation targeting and inflammation responsive materials for treating inflammatory diseases, and Frequency Therapeutics, which focuses on medical treatment for chronic hearing loss. In 2008 MIT's Technology Review listed him as one of the top innovators in the world under the age of 35 (TR35).


Jeff was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, graduating from Crestwood Secondary School. He graduated from McGill University in 1999 with a degree in chemical engineering.[1] At McGill he was elected to the McGill Senate to represent over 2000 students, he was also a nominated member of the McGill Admissions Committee, the Advisory Committee to Select a new dean of Engineering, and the Student Affairs Senate Sub-Committee. While at McGill he also co-founded the McGill Engineering Code of Ethics "The Blueprint".[2]

He received a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2004.[3] While at the University of Toronto, he was head TA[clarification needed] for the Faculty of Engineering, an active member of the Engineering Teaching Committee, and a board member of the Toronto chapter for the Canadian Biomaterials Society. He also actively volunteered on the oncology ward at the Hospital for Sick Children, and worked part-time for MadScience, a hands-on teaching program to spark the imagination and curiosity of elementary students.[4]

From 2004 until 2007, Karp was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in Robert Langer's laboratory at MIT.[5]


Karp resides in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife, two children, and his two King Charles spaniels.[6]


His research has led to several products on the market, and a number that are under clinical development. His most noticeable work includes bioinspired tissue adhesives to augment or replace sutures and staples,[7][8] engineered stem cell homing,[9][10] cell surface sensors,[11] a needle that automatically stops when it gets to the right location,[6] and inflammation responsive drug release.


Karp has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers (with 12,500 citations) and book chapters and has given over 250 national and international invited lectures and has 70 issued or pending patents. Several technologies that he has invented are currently being translated into medical products to improve the quality of life of suffering patients. Dr. Karp's work has been recognized by CNN, NPR Science Fridays, Boston Globe, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC Quirks and Quarks, CanadaAM, BBC, LA Times, Forbes, National Geographic, Popular Science, the Washington Post, the New York Post, and by Wired Magazine.

To date, 18 trainees from his laboratory have secured faculty positions at institutions throughout the world.

Among other honors, Karp was elected as a new fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering's (AIMBE) College of Fellows. The College of Fellows is composed of about 1,000 (top 2%) of the country’s most outstanding biomedical and biological engineers in academia, industry, and government. Karp also received the 2011 Young Investigator award from the Society for Biomaterials,[12] and Technology Review listed him in 2008 as one of the top innovators under the age of 35 (TR35).[13]

Karp is a popular mentor in the MIT and Harvard community.[14] He was selected as the Outstanding Faculty Undergraduate Mentor at MIT in 2008 and in 2010 the Harvard-MIT division HST granted him the McMahon Mentoring award as top mentor.[15]

In 2011, the Boston Business Journal profiled him as a Champion in Health Care Innovation.[6]

In 2012, two postdocs from his lab received the prestigious TR35 including Weian Zhao, Bryan Laulicht [16]

In 2013, Karp and his collaborator Dr. Bohdan Pomahac were honored with the Innovative Product of the Year Award from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) for their research on worm-inspired microneedle tissue adhesives

In 2014, Karp successfully pitched a 50K microbiome project at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Shark Tank event that was hosted live in Boston by Kevin O'Leary.[17]

In 2014, Maria Nunes Pereira, a graduate student co-advised with Lino Ferreira received the prestigious TR35 [18]

In 2014, Karp presented a talk at TEDMED that shared unexpected insights into the field of bio-inspiration, the art and science of adapting medical tools, treatments, and technologies from solutions found in nature.[19]

In 2015 Karp was recognized by the Boston Business Journal's top 40 under 40, and received the Kenneth Rainin Foundation's Breakthrough Award.

In 2016, his publications collectively reached over 10,400 citations.



  • Sukel, Kayt (11 October 2014). "From porcupine quills to surgical stitches". New Scientist. 2990: 32–34. 


  1. ^ Houston, Andrea (2008). "Crestwood grad to teach at Harvard; Peterborough native hired to research regenerative medicine, including therapies based on stem cells". The Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Jeffrey Karp, PhD". Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
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  6. ^ a b c Lowe, Chelsea (August 26, 2011). "Champions in Health Care: Jeffrey Karp, innovator". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Mahdavi, Aborz; et al. (February 19, 2008). "A biodegradable and biocompatible gecko-inspired tissue adhesive". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105: 2307–2312. doi:10.1073/pnas.0712117105. PMC 2268132Freely accessible. PMID 18287082. 
  8. ^ "Gecko Toes Inspire Design of New Medical Bandage". WBUR. February 22, 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Karp, Jeffrey M.; Grace Sock; Leng Teo (March 6, 2009). "Mesenchymal Stem Cell Homing: The Devil Is in the Details". Cell Stem Cell. Elsevier. 4 (3): 206–216. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2009.02.001. 
  10. ^ "Simple Chemical Procedure Augments Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells". Scientific Frontline. October 31, 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Zhao, Weian; Jeffrey Karp; et al. (July 17, 2011). "Cell-surface sensors for real-time probing of cellular environments". Nature Nanotechnology. Nature Publishing Group. 6: 524–532. doi:10.1038/nnano.2011.101. 
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  13. ^ "2008 Top 35 Innovators Under 35". Technology Review. 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
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