Jeff Karp

Professor of Medicine

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Jeff Karp is a Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and an affiliate faculty at the Broad Institute and at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (where he teaches to HST and MIT-Sloan business school students). His work spans the fields of drug delivery, medical devices, stem cell therapeutics, and tissue adhesives. He He has published >100 peer-reviewed papers (with >16,500 citations), has given >275 national and international invited lectures, and has >100 issued or pending national/international patents. Several technologies developed in his lab have formed the foundation for multiple products on the market and currently under development and for the launch of six companies that have raised over $180 Million in funding including Skintifique (a skincare company), Gecko Biomedical (a tissue adhesive company), Alivio Therapeutics (an inflammation targeting company), Frequency Therapeutics (a regenerative medicine company), Molecular Infusions (a cannabinoid company), and Landsdowne Labs (a child safety company). In 2014, Skintifique brought four consumer healthcare products to market that are sold in pharmacies throughout Europe and are globally available. In 2017, Gecko Biomedical received European regulatory approval (CE mark) for its first tissue sealant product and was recognized by Fierce Medtech as part of their Fierce 15 list of 2017. Frequency Therapeutics began human clinical testing in 2017 for its lead program to treat chronic hearing loss and completed a successful Phase I safety study in Australia. The company has also just completed enrolment for a Phase I/II trial in the US.

Karp’s laboratory has been funded by multiple companies, foundations, and governmental funding agencies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NFL, Johnson & Johnson, Phillips, Sanofi, UCB, NIH, DOD, US Army, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Helmsley Trust, JDRF, Rheumatology Research Foundation, Coulter Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Brain Science Foundation, American Heart Association, Deshpande Foundation, Institute for Pediatric Innovation, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Government of India and the Government of Korea. Karp also won an internal Shark Tank award judged by Kevin O’Leary (from ABC’s Shark Tank).

Karp’s work has been published in several high impact journals, including six papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (including two cover features), four in Nature Nanotechnology (including a cover feature), three in Cell Stem Cell, one in Nature Biotechnology, one in Nature Methods, one in Nature Biomedical Engineering, one in Nature Protocols, four in Science Translational Medicine (including two cover features), one in Nature Communications, and two in Blood. Karp also has published a commentary in Nature and another in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Karp’s work has been discussed in hundreds of newspapers, online websites, television newscasts, and radio shows around the world, including CNN, ABC News, NBC, Boston GlobeLos Angeles Times, BBC, Discovery, National GeographicThe AtlanticThe Guardian, American Museum for Natural History, Popular Mechanics, and CTV Canada AM, among many others. Karp has also appeared multiple times on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks and NPR Science Fridays. Karp has given invited lectures in 14 countries outside of the US including Canada, Israel, Ireland, United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Italy, India, Colombia, France, Chile, Switzerland, and Germany.

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 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). Karp is also a Kavli Fellow and was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s College of Fellows in 2013. 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 TEDMED talk at the Kennedy Center in DC 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 in at the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and Pharmacy. He also has served as a consultant to the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation on the topic of new technologies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He has deep consulting expertise with startups and Fortune 500 companies across a wide spectrum of areas, including drug delivery, medical devices, consumer healthcare products, and stem cell therapeutics.


Karp has had several notable scholarly achievements during his career. In 2010, Karp was asked to serve a two-year term to co-lead the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Regenerative Therapeutics Center (making him the youngest faculty at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital to direct a research center). He also received the Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award and the Coulter Foundation Translational Young Investigator Award. Additionally, he was a visiting professor at Oxford in 2014, presented the Nicholson Memorial Lecture at Composites of Lake Louise in 2015, presented two public lectures at the American Museum of Natural History in 2016, gave a Keynote Lecture at the Ontario Hospital Association’s 2017 Health Achieve conference, was a Plenary Speaker at the Tissue Engineering Society Europe conference in 2017, and was a Keynote speaker in 2018 at the combined meeting of the American Society for Peripheral Nerve, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the American Association for Hand Surgery.

In addition to his research goals, Karp is dedicated to the career development of next generation bioengineers to work at the forefront of regenerative medicine. Karp 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. Karp strives to create an educationally conducive environment that fosters the development of scientific confidence. To date, 20 trainees from his laboratory have secured faculty positions (he currently has 4 faculty working in his lab who he promoted from postdoctoral positions) and several have transitioned into impactful careers in pharma, biotech, medtech, and venture capital. Karp dedicates significant time to inspiring the next generation through hosting multiple groups of grade school and high school children to his laboratory each year for lectures and hands on demonstrations (including those from the US, Japan, Sweden, and France), as well as through giving lectures at local and national schools, including schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington. For example, in 2017 he gave a lecture at the Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon CT (a school for gifted children). He also has been a speaker at the Global Youth Summit at Brandeis University for the past two years. Karp has also collaborated extensively with clinicians, basic scientists, engineers, and fellow bioengineers in the US and in India, where he co-directed an Indo-US Center for Nanobiotechnology, and was invited to help launch a new biomedical engineering program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.