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IEEE Pulse – At the Interface of Disciplines

Source: IEEE Pulse
At the Interface of Disciplines


Five years ago, Jeffrey Karp sat down to a dinner party with Massachusetts General Hospital dermatologist R. Rox Anderson. The two started talking, and by the end of the evening, Karp—himself a bioengineer at the nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital—knew he wanted to make a collaboration happen between them. But on what? As he thought, he twisted his ring—his nickel allergy had flared up, and the skin on his finger was chafed and raw. Twist, and think; twist, think. And then it hit him: up to 45 million people in the United States shared his allergy, and the best measures they had to control it were small-molecule chelating creams with a dangerous tendency to leach into the skin.

Read More…

Feature – Nature Publishing Group

We were recently featured in an article in partnership with the Nature Publishing group. The article highlights the importance of our focus solving important biomedical problems that can be effectively translated into effective solutions. It is still amazing what nature can teach us!

Source: Nature Publishing Group – From Nature To Clinic

One late evening in a coffee shop near McGill University, Jeff Karp overheard two students talking about drug delivery and tissue engineering. Jeff, an undergrad, listened closely as the students discussed two graduate level courses. At the time Jeff was questioning his major. He had switched from biology to chemical engineering but found himself bored in class; uninterested in the details of how refrigerators work. That night at the coffee shop Jeff learned about two classes that he became desperate to take: one on artificial organs and engineering and the other on cells and biotechnology. To enroll he would need to take no less than 5 prerequisite physiology classes. Undeterred, Jeff added a year to his undergrad studies and switched majors yet again, this time to biomedical engineering. He had finally found the right balance between medicine and engineering. Jeff says a “degree in engineering is a degree in problem-solving” and that he uses the skills he learned in undergrad every day. Read More…

Karp Lab on Ivanhoe Medical Breakthroughs!

Click link below to view video:

Ivanhoe Broadcast News – The Karp Laboratory

We are pleased to have been featured on Ivanhoe’s recent Medical Breakthroughs. Ivanhoe is focused on providing television viewers with solutions to today’s problems,  with its news reports being distributed to more than 80 million households every week.

The Scientist – Sticking Power

Source: The Scientist

Sticking Power

An adhesive inspired by a parasitic worm could help better affix skin grafts in burn patients.

Parasite Inspired Adhesive Patch

Bioengineer Jeffrey Karp is used to finding inspiration in unusual places. He’s looked to porcupines’ barbed quills and the sticky pads of geckos’ feet, for example, to develop medical adhesives. And one afternoon a few years ago he sat in his office with some of his lab members Googling parasites. Read More…

Prof Karp Live on CCTV! [Panel on the Ethics of New Stem Cell Cloning Method]

Anchor Anand Naidoo joins Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society, and Jeffrey Karp from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to talk about the controversy surrounding a recent breakthrough in stem cell research involving the cloning of human stem cells.

BWH – Prickly Porcupine: Medicine’s Next Top Model?

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital HealthHub

PorcupineThe North American porcupine is easily recognizable due to its impressive coat of long, sharp quills. These unique projections are designed so that they can easily penetrate animal flesh, but are extremely difficult to remove. While this may be bad news for a predator or a curious pet, this natural mechanism is a boon for a curious medical researcher trying to develop a better medical device.
Read More…

Scilogs – From Nature to Nurture

Original Story: SciLogs – From Nature to Nurture

One late evening in a coffee shop near McGill University, Jeff Karp overheard two students talking about drug delivery and tissue engineering. Jeff, an undergrad, listened closely as the students discussed two graduate level courses. At the time Jeff was questioning his major. He had switched from biology to chemical engineering but found himself bored in class; uninterested in the details of how refrigerators work. That night at the coffee shop Jeff learned about two classes that he became desperate to take: one on artificial organs and engineering and the other on cells and biotechnology. To enroll he would need to take no less than 5 prerequisite physiology classes. Undeterred, Jeff added a year to his undergrad studies and switched majors yet again, this time to biomedical engineering. He had finally found the right balance between medicine and engineering. Jeff says a “degree in engineering is a degree in problem-solving” and that he uses the skills he learned in undergrad every day.
Read More…

Ben Ouyang Wins Canada’s Got (Science) Talent Sunnybrook Prize!

We are proud to announce that Ben Ouyang has won Canada’s Got (Science) Talent Sunnybrook Prize 2012 and a handsome $10,000 prize!

Ben would also like to give credit to his mentor Maria Pereira, who was the original creator of the material and was ‘a fantastic mentor for [him] during [his] stay at the Karplab’.

Congratulations Ben and Maria!


Poly(glycerol sebacate) urethane (PGSU) is a highly tunable biocompatible and multifunctional biodegradable elastomer.  Mechanically, it can be adjusted to be as soft as a small blood vessel or as stiff as cartilage, thus allowing for applications to various soft tissues.  Given its mild curing conditions, we can incorporate a wide range of drugs and have devised multiple techniques to modulate the release.

[Original paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23239051]

The Sunnybrook Prize was established in 2012 as an annual national award to recognize undergraduate students’ contributions to their research projects.  The prize is funded by income generated by royalties from technology developed by Sunnybrook Research Institute scientists.  On the day of the competition, the Finalists learned about world-class research conducted at the SRI and were given a tour through the SRI’s incredible imaging and machining facilities.

Discovery News: Jellyfish-Inspired Tentacles Capture Cancer

Source: Discovery News

Original paper: PNAS – Bioinspired multivalent DNA network for capture and release of cells

A new device inspired by jellyfish tentacles can be used to both count and sort cancer cells, which is an important indicator of how well chemotherapy or other treatments are working. Source: Rohit Karnik and Suman Bose

A new device inspired by jellyfish tentacles can be used to both count and sort cancer cells, which is an important indicator of how well chemotherapy or other treatments are working.
Source: Rohit Karnik and Suman Bose

Tiny strands of DNA that float like jellyfish tentacles can grab and hold tumor cells in the bloodstream in a device inspired by nature that may help cancer patients fight the dreaded disease.

The device can be used to both count and sort cancer cells, which is an important indicator of how well chemotherapy or other treatments are working. Doctors need to know whether cancer cells are being knocked out or developing immunity.

“The key is to know which drugs the remaining cells would be most susceptible to,” said Jeffrey Karp, an author on the paper published today in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science (PNAS) and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Often these cells in the blood stream are at very low concentrations and it’s difficult to isolate them. What you really want to do is collect them and study the biology of the cells and subject them to different kinds of chemo so you know which one is best to use.”

Read More…

MIT News – Inspiration from a porcupine’s quills

Source: MIT News

Inspiration from a porcupine’s quills

Understanding the mechanisms behind quill penetration and extraction could help engineers design better medical devices.
The North American porcupine

The North American porcupine
Photo: Mike Cuccarese

Anyone unfortunate enough to encounter a porcupine’s quills knows that once they go in, they are extremely difficult to remove. Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital now hope to exploit the porcupine quill’s unique properties to develop new types of adhesives, needles and other medical devices.

In a new study, the researchers characterized, for the first time, the forces needed for quills to enter and exit the skin. They also created artificial devices with the same mechanical features as the quills, raising the possibility of designing less-painful needles, or adhesives that can bind internal tissues more securely.

There is a great need for such adhesives, especially for patients who have undergone gastric-bypass surgery or other types of gastric or intestinal surgery, according to the researchers. These surgical incisions are now sealed with sutures or staples, which can leak and cause complications.
Read More…

Medical Tape Innovation Featured On CNN Health

Source: CNN Health – Spiderwebs may inspire better medical tape

Taking medical tape off an adult isn’t too painful because breakage occurs in the glue (you can sometimes see the leftover residue). But removing the same adhesive from a newborn can break fragile skin, causing significant damage, says Jeffrey Karp, researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Traditional medical tape has two layers: the sticky one and the non-sticky one that forms the backing. The adhesive is designed for adults, Karp said; newborns need something else just for them.
Read More…

Karp Lab Movember 2012

The KarpLab team is proud to announce their Movember 2012 effort! This is a renewal of our annual commitment and effort to raise funds for prostate cancer research.

Do visit the KarpLab Upper-Lip-Hair Dreamteam and contribute your bit to prostate cancer research!

A selection of our finest mo-hair:

Taking the sting out of medical tape

Source: MIT News

New adhesive comes off quickly, sparing infants’ delicate skin from damage.

Anne Trafton, MIT News Office
Ripping off a Band-Aid may sting for a few seconds, but the pain is usually quickly forgotten. However, for newborns’ sensitive skin, tearing off any kind of adhesive can pose a serious risk.Newborns lack an epidermis — the tough outermost layer of skin — so medical tape used to secure respirators or monitoring devices critical for the survival of premature babies can wreak havoc: Every year, more than 1.5 million people suffer scarring and skin irritation from medical tape, and the majority of those are infants or elderly people, who also have fragile skin.“This is just a huge unmet need,” says Jeffrey Karp, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.Bryan Laulicht, a postdoc in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer have now joined Karp in developing a new type of medical tape that can be removed without damaging delicate skin. The new tape could be produced by adapting current adhesive-manufacturing systems, according to the researchers.

Read More…

MIT News at Noon: Jeffrey Karp

Jeff recently delivered his “News at Noon” talk at the MIT Museum.

The event is co-sponsored by the MIT News Office and the Museum, and features researchers discussing their recently promoted work. On Nov. 2, Jeff discussed his team’s new medical adhesive that is safe enough for an infant’s delicate skin.

Presenters for “News at Noon” are announced each week following an appearance in MIT News. Come and connect with local colleagues before and after the program. Free admission to all. Learn more athttp://web.mit.edu/museum/pdf/MITNewsAtNoon-F12.pdf 

Read more about Jeff’s work at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/new-medical-tape-for-sensitive-skin-1029.html

Oscar R. Miranda has been awarded the prestigious Arthritis Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Source: Arthritis Foundation

Karp Lab team member Oscar Miranda has been awarded a research grant by the Arthritis Foundation for his work on ‘Inflammation Responsive Hydrogels for Treatment of Inflammatory Arthritis’.

Congratulations Oscar!

Eoin O’Cearbhaill awarded first prize for the best poster presentation at the MIT Sloan BioInnovation

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Awards & Honors – Mar 8, 2012

O’Cearbhaill Wins at BioInnovations Conference
Eoin O’Cearbhaill, PhD, BE

Eoin O’Cearbhaill, PhD, BE, postdoctoral associate in the BWH Laboratory for Advanced Biomaterials and Stem-Cell-Based Therapeutics, was awarded first prize for the best poster presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan BioInnovations 2012 conference. This event was organized to showcase the most exciting life science and health care technologies with commercial potential from MIT and the greater Harvard community.

O’Cearbhaill’s research, in conjunction with collaborators from BWH, MGH and MIT, focuses on the development of a clutch needle system that prevents the risk of overshoot injuries through the use of a purely mechanical method. It is hoped that this easy-to-use, affordable technology will reduce the complications and user-skill requirements associated with a broad range of current needle insertion techniques.

Fangqi Gu



I am an undergraduate student from University of Waterloo, studying Biotechnology and Economics. I am currently here in Karp lab for my co-operative educational term, working as an intern under Zijiang Yang and Luke Mortensen. We are working on several projects, such as implantable device for drug detection, high throughput screening of drug induced PGE2 secretion by MSC, effects of CXCL4 on the homing of MSC, and others. I have worked as an intern in a bio-regenerative polymer material in Japan, and it is wonderful to experience the difference in lab culture. I enjoy reading, movies, music, however I do spend most of my free time eating and sleeping.

Sarah Boetto



I’m an intern from the University of Toronto in the Engineering Science Biomedical major doing my PEY year. Currently, I am working with Grace Teo on characterizing the mechanism of mesenchymal stem
cell transmigration across the endothelium. So far, it has been an amazing learning experience. The work environment at the Karp lab is very encouraging and friendly, and the diversity of projects throughout the lab provides exposure to several different areas in the field. Outside of work, I enjoy Taekwondo, running, reading and listening to music.

Hongmin Chen



I am a mechanical engineering student from University of Toronto currently doing my professional experience year. I am working on novel biodegradable adhesives for internal applications with potential anti-cancer, bacterial static and hemostatic properties. I really enjoy doing research in the karp lab with friendly and supportive mentors and labmates. Personally, I enjoy watching movies, running, and playing basketball with friends.

Michael Valic



I am an undergraduate student perusing a degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, with a major in Biomedical Engineering. My research focus surrounds the intersection between biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Specifically, I am interested in the development of intelligent hybrid carriers, both biological and synthetic, for the delivery of drugs, vaccines and various active molecules. Currently under the mentorship of Dr. Praveen K. Vemula, I am working on the development of next-generation therapeutic strategies for localized treatment of proteolytic diseases.

When not in the lab, I am involved with the GSAS Harvard Biotechnology Club and MIT’s Entrepreneurs Club (E-Club). I also enjoy volunteering at Massachusetts General Hospital and shadowing surgical oncology residents at Harvard Medical School and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. And with any spare time I can find I devote to rowing crew for BU’s intramural teams (Go Terriers!) and playing squash with my mentor.

Kyle Tsang

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< kyletsang8@gmail.com >

I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Engineering Science majoring in biomedical engineering. After finishing my third year of studies, I joined the Karp lab as a student research intern where I work with Dr. Weian Zhao. My current project deals with improving the homing mechanism of mesenchymal stem cells towards sites of inflammation by engineering them to express certain protein receptors in their membrane. During my one year internship, I hope this invaluable experience will help me gain a better understanding of biomedical research while being involved with projects that will quickly translate to improving the quality of life of currently suffering patients. I have previously worked at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland where I developed a bio-inspired encapsulation method using silica to improve the efficiency of lipase. I also worked at the University of Toronto where I looked at signalling cues that apoptotic osteocytes release to induce osteoclast formation. In my spare time, I enjoy playing chess and go, watching movies, and travelling. I am also a huge sports fanatic and love watching and playing baseball, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, baseball, golf, skiing, biking, tennis and swimming.

Lara Fu



I am an undergraduate student from University of Toronto, specializing in biomedical engineering. It is definitely a great opportunity for me to work in such a multidisciplinary atmosphere where you see and participate how cutting edge researches are conducted. Currently I am working with Weian and Yukkee on their collaborating project, focusing on the delivery of antitumor drug through microparticles-loaded mesenchymal stem cells. My previous research experience includes working in a kids rehabilitation hospital to detecting electgromyogenic artifacts in prefrontal cortex EEG to potentially benefit the application of brain computer interface (BCI). I also worked on a project in a bionanotechnology laboratory, using quantum dots encoded microbeads to detect non-amplified gDNA samples. Out of work, I enjoy travelling, reading, and movies.

Ben Ouyang



I’m a PEY (intern) student from the University of Toronto, majoring in Biomedical Engineering from the Engineering Science program.  I’ll be working in the Karp Lab for a year, and I’m currently working on a drug delivery system for a novel biodegradable elastomer to be applied on ischemic heart tissues after myocardial infarction.  It’s just been two months, and I’m loving it.  Intelligent and fun labmates, and living in a beautiful city (when it’s not raining every day of the week).  I love sports, music, and photography.  I play badminton, volleyball, violin, piano, and with my camera.  And I love eating. om nom nom.

Mónica Beato Coelho



I am a graduate student at MIT Portugal Program, and I am currently conducting my research at Karp Lab. My PhD project focuses on the development of an autologous stem cell-based therapy that can be rapidly translated to the clinic and fully executed within the operating room, thus significantly enhancing current and evolving tissue regeneration therapies. I graduated from New University of Lisbon with a master degree in biomedical engineering. After graduating I worked for two years in an American multinational information technology corporation as consultant for healthcare information system projects, until I decided to pursue a career in something that I love, translational science. Besides science, family and friends, traveling and exploring new places, cooking and eating, painting, reading, kayaking and enjoying the ocean, sunny days and starry nights, are some of the things that keep my life moving. 

Yukkee Cheung




I am currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Karp group. I obtained my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 2005, where I also did undergraduate research under the supervision of Dr. Jose Moran-Mirabal and Prof. Harold Craighead. After that I joined Prof. Samuel Sia’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Columbia University and received my MS and PhD in 2010. I am a native of Hong Kong.

Sriram Kumar Sankaran

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I am an undergraduate majoring in Bioengineering. I wish to pursue a research career in regenerative medicine, specifically in developing  Mesenchymal Stem Cell based therapeutic systems. I strongly believe that, we equipped with these wonderful systems, can cure any disease that are threatening the human kind and  well, seems like we have a long way to go before we sleep!Here in Karp lab, along with Dr. Joseph Phillips and Ms. Rukmani Sridharan, I will be involved in probing MSC homing and ectopic bone growth.

Smruthi Suryaprakash

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I am a third year undergraduate student from NTU, singapore  studying chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I am currently working with Dr. praveen in developing controlled drug delivery vehicles to make a paradigm shift in the treatment of various illness such as arthritis, brain cancer.Previously I was working in finding the optimal conditions for  Electrospinning of Hyaluronic acid , modifying chitosan to make it thermosensitive . I greatly enjoy the stimulating environment in the lab working  with people with varied expertise. When I am free I love dancing Bharatnatyam which is a classical Indian dance. I also enjoy reading books and trying out new stuff.

Kyungheon Lee



Hi! I’m Kyungheon Lee, a Ph.D student from KAIST, Korea majoring in mechanical engineering.  I’m interested in microscale fluid dynamics , micro fabrication, optics and micro-Total Analysis System.  I joined Geko inspired adhesive project and worked with Dr. Wookyung Cho and Maria. In the Karp Group, I could take a chance to experience several fields, such as chemistry, biology and micro engineering and I could share and get a lot of experience from each field’s experts. It was great time for me!

Cheryl Cui

I joined Dr. Karp’s lab in May 2010, as an intern student. I am an undergraduate Engineering Science student majoring in Biomedical Engineering at University of Toronto. It has been a rewarding year for me working here at Dr. Karp’s Lab, where I met many excellent researchers and inspired by their innovative ideas. Currently, my research focuses on understanding mesenchymal stem cell’s (MSC) immunomodulatory properties with the goal of improving its therapeutic effect in the clinic. Previously, I developed a high content screening platform to quantify mesenchymal stem cell’s osteogenic potential under Professor William Stanford at University of Toronto. Being a part of this multidisciplinary research group has stimulated my interests in translational medicine-orientated biomedical research. In the future, I would like to pursuit in a career in improving medical condition in developing area by bringing bench-top technology to the village.  Apart from research, I travel, anywhere with a vibrate culture, from hundred year-old book store in town to the other side of the globe. Cheers.

Shirley Ma



My name is Shirley Ma and  I am a second year student currently enrolled in Nanotechnology Engineering program at the University of Waterloo (UW) in Waterloo, Canada. Previously, I have worked with Professor Bo Cui on nanofabrication in the cleanroom in Waterloo, through which I gained valuable experience in the semiconductor field. Working in Professor Karp’s lab has brought the excitement of my work experience to another height. Directly mentored by Dr. Sufeng Zhang, I am provided with valuable feedback every day. It is the support, guidance and spirit contributed by all the amazing people in Karp’s lab taught me what it takes to be the pioneers in the medicine research field. I feel very lucky to be guided by Sufeng and be working on nanoparticles for drug delivery. During my spare time, I like swimming, dancing, singing, reading and hanging out with friends.

Jack Liang Zhang



My name is Liang Zhang. I finished my undergraduate at Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology in China and master training at McMaster University in Canada. I performed research in fundamental soft condensed matter physics and organic chemistry, as well as translational ophthalmic product (SYSTANE Artificial Tear, with Alcon Laboratories at TX). It is a great learning experience in Karp Lab to work with researchers from multidisciplinary background, which has shaped my mind to work at interface of chemistry, materials science and cell biology in my future career. Current ongoing projects are focused on elucidation of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells homing mechanisms and development of controlled-release polymeric systems for cancer therapeutics. 

Vinay Sagar



I’m a fourth year Nanotechnology Engineering student at the University of Waterloo and I am currently working with Dr. Weian Zhao on understanding the homing/trafficking mechanism of mesenchymal stem cells. This eight-month internship will allow me to enhance my knowledge in this field and prepare me for my future endeavours. In my previous internship, I was an intern research assistant at the Quantum Chemistry Laboratory of Hokkaido University where I performed theoretical calculations to better understand the water oxidation mechanism. Before that I was an intern at Facebook on the Internet Marketing team, where I focused on advertiser analytics to predict future advertiser spend. I also enjoy sports, in particular tennis, hockey and basketball.

Thula Kanagenthiran

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 I am currently in my 4A of Biology specializing in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Waterloo. During my 8 months here at Karp’s Lab, i will be working with James Ankrum to understand the many mechanisms involved in mesenchymal stem cell apoptosis. Furthermore, I will be working towards developing drug delivery systems to treat MSC to ultimately increase their survival in vivo. I believe my experience here, will greatly benefit me in pursuing graduate studies in  biomedical sciences. 

When i am not in the lab, i spend my time by going to the gym, playing basketball, and watching movies.

Isaac Roes

Isaac   Karplab Profile

I am currently in my third year of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. During my 8 month internship at Karp Lab I am working with Dr. Chenjie Xu studying mesenchymal stem cell migration under chemoattractant gradients as well as nanoparticle uptake for magnetic resonance imaging. I see my time here as an invaluable research opportunity which will prepare me to be successful in graduate school. My previous research experience focussed on graphene and carbon nanotubes synthesis and functionalization for super capacitor application. When I’m not in the lab I enjoy playing soccer, volleyball, rugby, and working out as well as listening to music and watching movies. 

Sarah LeBlanc



I am an undergraduate student from the University of Waterloo, Canada currently studying Nanotechnology Engineering with a strong interest in the biomedical field.  I am grateful to have this opportunity to take part in such a stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment.  Working with Dr. Weian Zhao, my projects are focused on exploring the immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells.  I also have past research experience using MRI diagnostics for the assessment of a cancer vaccine.  In my free time, I enjoy playing ice hockey, running, curling and reading.

Lynna Chen

Lynna Chen


I’m an undergraduate student from the University of Waterloo currently working on an internship in Dr. Karp’s Lab. I’m working under Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula on developing novel encapsulation vehicles for drug delivery. This aligns with my research interests in biomedical engineering, and especially with work that has immediate application. I’m enjoying working in such a motivating atmosphere, and I hope to make most out of the rest of my time here. In the future I hope to gain exposure to related research in an industry setting (and hopefully travel while I do so), before pursuing a graduate degree. Outside of work and school I enjoy skiing, snowboarding, playing tennis and doing parkour. 

Stephen Lawes



Hello, I am an undergraduate student in the Nanotechnology Engineering program at the University of Waterloo working at Karp Lab for 8 months as part of my co-op program. I am working with Woo Kyung Cho and Maria Pereira, designing a novel bioadhesive for internal wound closure. Previously, my research has focused on thin film synthesis and characterization for use in surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices. After graduation in 2013, I will pursue an MBA and would prefer to work in industry. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, soccer, hockey, and golf, as well as reading. I also love to travel.

Vikram R Juneja



I am a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Program, on the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics track, which is a long way to say I’m working towards a PhD from MIT. I started in the Karp Lab in Fall 2010, and am really interested in mesenchymal stem cell biology and therapeutics, as well as cancer biology. I would like to make a positive difference in science and engineering education both domestically and internationally, especially at the elementary level. I am particularly interested in health education in the developing world. I received a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in mechanical engineering and an MPhil in genetics from the University of Cambridge. I was born and raised in California (seasons are overrated), and am still coming to grips with the fact that we are not walking distance from DC. I enjoy running, spending time with friends, loading the dishwasher methodically, being outdoors, and am trying to learn to cook. Lastly, I really enjoy acronyms, so being a PhD MIT-MEMP in HST, taking classes at HMS and studying MSCs really works well for me.

Xiaolei Yin



Hi, I joined Dr. Karp’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow in July, 2010. My current projects focus on tissue engineering using stem cells and novel biodegradable and biocompatible elastomers, to create biomimetic tissues for therapeutic use. I received my B.Sc. and Ph.D. degree from Peking University in China. During my Ph.D. study, I joined Dr. Hongkui Deng’s lab, where I studied the mechanism of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) self-renewal and then focused on seeking for novel methods to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). The iPS technology is a great breakthrough in regenerative medicine. I think the combination of iPS technology and various tissue engineering approaches will great promote the advance of regenerative medicine in the future, which is also a goal of my study.

Abhijit Majumder

Abhijit 201


Hi! I am a collaborative post-doctoral student of Dr. Jeff Karp and Dr. Jyotsna Dhawan (InStem, NCBS India). We are studying the effect of micro-environment on regenerative and differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells. We are aiming to develop a ‘smart’ niche where the behavior of the cells can be controlled and triggered. Our approach towards this goal includes micro-fabrication techniques, microfludics and playing with material properties.

I received my PhD (2010) from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India where I worked with Dr. A. Ghatak and Dr. A. Sharma. In my PhD, we developed a bio-inspired adhesive with embedded microfluidic structures. Our research, for the first time, showed that the adhesion which is commonly perceived as a surface phenomenon can also be altered using sub-surface structures.

I am a voracious reader and can spend time by reading anything and everything, including advertisement leaflets!!! Other hobbies include spending time with friends, writing, sketching and listening music.

Sudhir H. Ranganath




Hi there! Being a Chemical Engineer by training and fascinated by the potential of stem cells as therapeutics, I am at the right place – Karp Lab.

I am a Post Doctoral Fellow (joint appointment) in Dr. Jeffrey Karp’s lab at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, USA, Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India. This collaborative research is also co-advised by Prof. Maneesha Inamdar (JNCASR) and I joined inStem in August 2010 and hope to spend the next year at the Karp Lab. I intend to develop bioengineering and drug delivery strategies to regulate the human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) secretome in the context of cardiovascular regeneration.

My PhD in Chemical Engineering is from the National University of Singapore (NUS), in which I worked on developing micro/nano-structured drug/protein delivery implants and cell microencapsulation devices and demonstrated enhanced drug penetration in the tumor tissue. These devices were tested for efficacy (local chemotherapy/anti-angiogenic therapy) in treating glioblastoma in mice. 

When I am not researching in the lab, I am my baby girl’s toy. I love to spend time with my family, some place remote from the hustle bustle. I also love trekking, watching/playing cricket, painting, reading books, listening to melodious tunes and trying (cook/eat) different cuisines. 

Masashi Haraguchi


photo Masashi


I joined the Karp lab in June, 2010. I am from Japan and graduated from Nagasaki
University School of Medicine in 1990. Nagasaki is located on the western edge of Japan.
Nagasaki University School of Medicine is the cradle of modern medical science in Japan.
I am a broad certified surgeon in gastroenterology and have an interest in regenerative
medicine very much. It’s my great pleasure to get a chance to work in Dr. Karp’s group with
young researchers.

In addition to research, I want to enjoy a life in Boston with my wife, son and daughter.

Debanjan Sarkar



I joined the Karp Lab as a postdoctoral associate in August 2007. Prior to this I completed my Bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and polymer science from the University of Calcutta in India. I received my MS and PhD from the University of Akron, Ohio in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. My area of research involves the development of novel polymeric/stem cell systems for applications in regenerative medicine.

Nathaniel Campbell



I am a Technical Research Assistant in Dr. Jeffrey Karp’s laboratory (the Laboratory for Advanced Biomaterials and Stem-Cell-Based Therapeutics) at the Harvard-MIT division of Health Science and Technology.  I came to the Karp Lab after finishing an M.S. and B.A. in chemistry from Brandeis University, where my research focused on developing new asymmetric methodologies for organic synthesis using cinchona alkaloid-derived catalysts.  In Dr. Karp’s group I am developing new hydrogel-based therapies and drug delivery technologies.  Two areas of particular interest to me are biomaterials and drug delivery, so I’m very excited to be researching in the Karp Lab.

Outside the lab I enjoy cycling, exploring Boston, cooking, and playing squash.

Jihan Khan

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Hi! I joined the Karp laboratory on July 2010 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. I am working on developing, synthesizing, and evaluating novel drug-based hydrogels for therapeutic uses. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brandeis University in Prof. Lizbeth Hedstrom’s laboratory where I worked on a medicinal chemistry project designing and systematically developing and synthesizing small molecule inhibitors of Cryptosporidium Parvum in collaboration with Dr. Greg Cuny at Harvard Medical School. Our studies may be highly useful for the development of drug treatments to conquer cryptosporidiosis. I received my Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University under Prof. Li Deng where I developed several novel asymmetric reactions catalyzed by quinine and quinidine derived organocatalysts which were also discovered in our laboratories. I received my BA in Chemistry in 2003 from Bard College and worked on my senior project with Prof. Hilton Weiss where we developed novel reactions and studied the chemical properties of ferrocenyl fulvenes.

David Miranda-Nieves

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I am an Undergraduate student at MIT. My research interest lies in tissue engineering, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. For this reason, I am majoring in Material Science and Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering.

Having the dream of becoming an influential researcher and coming from Puerto Rico, I will love to develop a world-revolutionizing idea that will influence the Hispanic world. For this reason, I have identified the Harvard-MIT HST program where I will acquire the techniques and abilities in medicine, research and engineering that my career plan requires.

Mary Mu

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Hi, I am an intern from University of Waterloo, Canada, currently pursuing my bachelor’s in Nanotechnology Engineering. I joined Dr. Jeffrey Karp’s lab in January and am currently working with Dr. Chenjie Xu on adhesives for tissue and microfluidic devices for assessment of cell migration. It’s very exciting to be able to work in such a stimulating research environment with all the brilliant people that make up this lab. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, travelling, and popping bubble wrap.

Jens Roat Kultima



A bustling Chinese city, a New Zealand paddock, a Brazilian rainforest and now Jeffrey Karp’s laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School and MIT in Boston. They’re all views that I have seen from my office while working on fascinating and inspiring research!With a background in Bioinformatics, B.Sc and soon M.Sc. from Uppsala University in Sweden, and having done research in five continents I believe my contribution to the research on Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) in Karp’s Laboratory will be of great value.I am currently working together with Chenjie Xu and Mary Mu, investigating properties of nanoparticles to aid the discovery of disease in earlier stages, in order to reduce the effect of various diseases, and hopefully make the world a little bit healthier!I don’t think anyone in the lab has missed that I’m the dance nerd. Dancing West Coast Swing, Blues, Salsa, Tango, Ceroc, Ballroom, Folk and well anything else I can get my hands on, I arrive early in the lab and spend most evenings on the dance floor! Come join! It’s fun! Read More…

Kayla Simms



Born and raised in the city of Toronto, I have recently joined the Karp Lab as an Undergraduate Intern for two months during the summer of 2010. Thus far, I have completed two years of my Bachelors of Arts and Sciences degree at the University of Guelph, Ontario, with double minors in Biology and Family & Child Studies. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano, swimming, drawing, acting, and volunteering with a variety of programs abroad. During March 2008, I traveled to Costa Rica and volunteered at an orphanage in San Jose and in the summer of 2009, I spent four months in Israel where I volunteered as a First Aid Responder in Ramat Gan with Magen David Adom. This summer, I am thrilled to join the Karp Lab and contribute to the many exciting projects this amazing group has to offer!

Abdullah Syed



Hi, I am an intern from the University of Waterloo in Canada studying engineering. At the lab I am working on self assembled hydrogels for controlled release and transdermal drug delivery. In the past I have worked on MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), computational simulations of solids and fluids and most recently on imaging nanowires optically. Combined, my experiences make me feel completely at home in this multidisciplinary lab. I will be trying to do graduate work in one of the fields above and hopefully will be able to decide on one of them :P.

Ilia A. Droujinine



I am a visiting undergraduate student to the Dr. J. Karp Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. I am joining the lab from the University of Waterloo, Canada. It is a great pleasure to be a part of our multidisciplinary group of researchers, answering the key questions of modern medicine and coming up with unique solutions to meet humans? current healthcare needs. My research interests involve the utilization of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) properties for regenerative medicine. Moreover, I am fascinated by basic questions of MSC behaviour, such as their physiological role and identity, homing, self-renewal, differentiation. My favourite sports are soccer, swimming, skiing, and running. In addition, I highly enjoy reading and traveling.

Namit Kumar

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I am a master’s student from India majoring in Biotechnology and am presently working with Dr. Weian Zhao on a project whereby we seek to elucidate Mesenchymal Stem Cell homing mechanism. It’s been a great learning experience where carrying out research has been fun at all times. I am fascinated by the stream of Stem Cell Biology and seek to expertise in regenerative applications of Stem Cells, that can be translated to pragmatic clinical therapies. Apart from my research, I enjoy adventure sports, Console Gaming, Fast cars and I have a love for gadgets!

Lijie Grace Zhang

lijie 1


Lijie (Grace) is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Karp’s lab at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.S. in Applied Chemistry from Tianjin University in China. Then she received Edward Mason Fellowship to pursue her Ph.D. at Brown University in 2005. During three and half year’s study at Brown, she got her second M.S. in Chemical Engineering and obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. Thomas J. Webster’s Nanomedicine lab in January 2009. After graduation, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kyriacos A. Athanasiou’s Musculoskeletal Bioengineering lab at Rice University.Lijie’s research areas include nanobiomaterials, drug delivery, bone and cartilage tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and biomechanics. She has published 5 invited book chapters, 12 peer-reviewed papers, 7 conference proceedings and has presented her work on over 22 conferences. Moreover, Lijie was the recipient of the Society for Biomaterials STAR Awards in 2007 (Chicago, IL) and in 2009 (San Antonio, TX). She also received the prestigious Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award at Brown and the Sigma Xi Award for Excellent Research in 2009.

Shwetha Mureli

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Hi! I am Shwetha Mureli, an undergraduate from SASTRA University, India. With an enthusiasm to lay the first stepping stones in pursuing a career in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, I joined Dr.Karp’s Lab in January 2010. I will be working here for the next 6 months on the ‘Gecko Adhesive project’ with Maria Nunes Perriera, a graduate student in the lab. My work here would essentially revolve around developing biomaterials suitable for clinical applications. So far my experience in Dr.Karp’s Lab has been really exciting and thought provoking! I hope to make the best of this opportunity which I believe would help me build a firm foundation to further my research interests in this field. Besides academics, I love music, badminton, food and fixing computers!

Joseph A. Phillips



Dr. Joseph A. Phillips received his PhD (2004) in theoretical high-energy physics from the University of Maryland where he studied string theory, extra-dimensional supergravity, and high-spin supersymmetric field theories. He then studied molecular motors involved in actin-based cell motility as a postdoctor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the University of Florida. As a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant in Cancer Biology, he applied chemical biology techniques to develop new methods for early detection and diagnosis of cancer in the Shands Cancer Center and Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida.  Dr. Phillips is continuing his postdoctoral training in the Karp lab where he is focused on using in vivo confocal imaging and bioengineering techniques to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell therapies for tissue regeneration.

Dagang Guo

Dagang Guo


 Hello! My first name is Dagang. I am a visiting professor in Dr. Karp’s group at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. My current projects focus on the synthesis and characteristic of nature inspired tissue adhesives (collaborating with Dr. Woo Kyung Cho) and the related nano-composite biomaterials. I came from State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Xi’an Jiaotong University (China), where I gained my PhD in Material Science and Engineering in 2005. I got my faculty position in the same university in 2005, and was promoted to be an associate professor in 2007. I had been granted the program for New Century Excellent Talents of Ministry of Education of China.

It’s my great pleasure to get a chance to work and study in Dr. Karp’s group. Everyone in this group is so friendly, talented and collaborative. I am enjoying the research life here with some fun activities including hiking, swimming and playing tennis, etc, together with my friends here. 

Aravind Viswanathan

Aravind Viswanathan


A native of India, I came to the United States in 2005. Having finished my high school in New York, I moved to Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, to pursue an education in the field of Biomedical Engineering. I believe that there is no facet of human life that is not touched by the beauty of an engineering application. Moreover, the ever-growing field of Biomedical Engineering, which aims to cure diseases and improve the general life of society, sheds a ray of hope to the billions suffering from various diseases. I am very thrilled at the prospects of working with Dr. Jeffrey Karp and other brilliant scientists who make up this vibrant community. I will be assisting Post Doctoral Associate, Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula, with his research on drug-delivery. After graduation, I aspire to enter medical school. During my pastime, I enjoy playing tennis, reading books, and spending time with friends and family.

Simon Teo

Simon Teo


I’m Wei Suong, also called Simon. I’m a Malaysian reading Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Here at Karp lab I am doing a 22 weeks internship not just to fulfil my course requirements, but also to experience hands-on research in a research intensive environment. I’m glad to be able to do a small part in advancing our knowledge on stem cells. My hobbies include playing sports and music.

I’m Wei Suong, also called Simon. I’m a Malaysian reading Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Here at Karp lab I am doing a 22 weeks internship not just to fulfil my course requirements, but also to experience hands-on research in a research intensive environment. I’m glad to be able to do a small part in advancing our knowledge on stem cells. My hobbies include playing sports and music.

Maisam Dadgar

Maisam Dadgar


I am a native of Massachusetts and am going to be a senior in biomedical engineering at Boston University. Currently, my senior project is designing a new artificial vestibular system. I hope to gain valuable research experience here at Karp Lab. I know many of the things I will experience here will aid me greatly in the future whether I choose to continue with school after graduation or go straight to work.

Joyce Wang

Joyce Wang


Through the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program), I will be working with Post Doctoral Associate, Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula in Prof. Karp’s lab at the Harvard-MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School and look forward to being a part of the exciting cutting edge research taking place. I am currently a sophomore at MIT, majoring in biology with aspirations to enter medical school in the future. I enjoy a wide range of activities – being on the exec board of the MIT Undergraduate Biochemistry Association as well as that of New House, volunteering at MGH on the weekends, maintaining my dorm’s IM tennis team, and participating in MIT’s Chamber Music Society. A dedicated pianist of 15 years, I express myself through music and enjoy a wide range of musical styles, especially classical. Hailing from sunny south Florida, I also enjoy playing tennis, going to the beach, and swimming.
I can’t wait to dig my hands in, learn from, and collaborate with the brilliant and talented scientists who make up this lab.

Karp Lab Lunch

April 27 2009GroupLunch02 On this day, the Karp Lab celebrated Dr. Weian Zhao’s recent Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowship award.In addition, the lunch also served as a farewell for Sebastian Schaefer, a graduate student from Germany. Sebastian Schaefer had been working at the lab during the period lasting from September 2008 to April 2009. He had contributed immensely to the group during this time and was highly valued for his skills in flow cytometry. Sebastian is looking forward to pursuing his Ph.D. in Germany. The Karp Lab wishes you luck and all the best, Sebastian! GroupLunch01GroupLunch03

Wei Li Loh

Wei Li Loh


Hello! My name is Wei Li, but everyone in the lab addresses me as Loh (it’s simpler that way :) ). I’m an exchange student from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and I major in Bioengineering. I’m here in the Karp Lab to perform my internship for half a year as part of my course requirements back in my university. Having done a previous internship in Singapore, I realised that the working environment in every research institution is as varied as the cells in our body. Doing as many internships as possible before you graduate really helps in preparing oneself for a working life as a researcher.Time has passed really quickly and it’s been 3 months since I joined the lab. I am glad to report that I have learnt a tremendous deal from everyone in the lab and and I’m glad to say that I am enjoying my stint in the Karp Lab a lot.I currently work with Dr. Weian Zhao in promoting the homing efficiency of mesenchymal stem cells through cellular engineering.My interests out of the lab include hanging out with friends, exploring Boston, reading, exercising (running mostly), learning new things and I also do some gaming occasionally.

Ram Krishna Rijal

Ram Krishna Rijal

Ram Krishna Rijal <spring08@mit.edu> 

I am really excited about my UROP ( Undergraduate research opportunities Program) this summer. I will be working with Post Doctoral Associate, Dr. Woo Kyung Cho in the Karp Lab. I will be helping him create superhydrophobic surfaces. This is my first research at MIT and therefore I am looking forward to having a robust research experience, meeting dedicated and intellectual people and developing maturity.

Georgina Campbell

GeorginaGeorgina Campbell <georgie@mit.edu>

I am an undergraduate student from Oxford University and currently at MIT on a 6-month exchange program in order to complete my Masters thesis.  In Oxford I am majoring in Materials Science and I am especially interested in biomaterials and nano-technology.  I am working on an extremely interesting project here in the Karp Lab; developing an animal-inspired biodegradable biocompatible medical adhesive tape.  This will potentially revolutionize future surgical procedures.  I find it fascinating how the animal kingdom can influence the scientifif world.  I also passionately support the promotion of science and innovation and I am actively involved in projects that help bridge the gap between science, business and the general public.

Sebastian Schaefer

SebastianSebastian Schaefer <derseb@gmail.com>

As a graduate student in the “Karp Lab for Advanced Biomaterials and Stem-Cell-Based Therapeutics” I assess characteristics of stem cells and their modifications using flow cytometry. Being involved in many projects, I have the chance to gain valuable insight in many different aspects of working with stem cells and biomaterials.

I am enrolled in Germany and also studied one year in South Korea before I came to Boston. This work as a guest researcher is the final stage of a chemical- and bioengineering program at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen, Germany and a program in biotechnology at the Dongseo University in Busan, South Korea. Having experienced scientific research on three continents has been an important experience and will influence my future work as a scientist significantly.

Next to research my main interests are travel, photography, snowboarding, skiing and scuba diving.

Weian Zhao

Weian Zhao


Hi, I am currently a Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Karp’s group at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. My current projects focus on the interface of stem cells and nanostructured devices towards diagnostics, therapeutics and regenerative medicine.I obtained my Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2008 from McMaster University (Canada), where I studied functional nucleic acid/gold nanoparticle-based biosensors and nanostructures. I completed my M.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 2003 at the Key Laboratory of Colloid and Interface Chemistry at Shandong University (China) and my research was focused on polymer/colloid nanocomposites. Prior to that, I received my B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at Shandong University (China) in 2000.Besides research, I am also interested in soccer, traveling, running, reading and movies.

Stephanie See

Stephanie See

My name is Stephanie See and I’m a sophomore at Wellesley College. I am a double major in Biochemistry and Film and Media Studies and I hope to pursue biomedical research in the future. In my free time I dance with the MIT Ballroom Dance team, play the piano, swim, and spend time with friends in Boston.

Sunny Kim

Sunny Kim <s.u.n.n.y.k.i.m@gmail.com>

Hi, my name is Sunny Kim, and I am rising senior at the Wheatley High School. It’s a delight to be researching at Karp Lab! Last summer, I worked at Polytechnic University to research about the behaviors of various polymers such as the SI-53 for biomedical applications. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, volleyball, the flute, and reading classics. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in the medical field in the future, and I believe anyone who works hard enough can achieve their dreams. As John M. Shanahan once said, “Doors don’t slam open.

Shefa Moten

shefa moten

Shefa Moten <shefa_moten@hotmail.com>

My name is Shefa Moten and I am currently a rising sophomore at Clear Creek High School. I am very excited to be working at Karp Lab and pursuing my passions for biology and engineering. Previously, I have worked on projects in fields ranging from tissue engineering to nanotechnology. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, reading, listening to music, and hanging out with friends.

Ruchika Aggarwal

Ruchika Aggarwal

Ruchika Aggarwal <ruchika@mit.edu>

Hi I am Ruchika Aggarwal, a Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology undergraduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Delhi), India. I have just completed my sophomore year and am working on a very interesting project on stem cell rolling at the Karp Lab for the summer. A few of the large number of things I love to do are skate, shop, dance, sing and explore new places with friends.

Recent News

 Eoin O’Cearbhaill awarded first prize for the best poster presentation at the MIT Sloan BioInnovation 

Praveen Kumar Vemula awarded Ramalingaswami Re-Entry Fellowship from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India 

Dr. Karp is named a Champion of Healthcare by the Boston Business Journal

Weian Zhao, a senior Postdoctoral Associate has secured an Assistant Professor Faculty position at University of California – Irvine!

Shruthi Suryaprakash, an Alumni undergraduate has won a singapore-wide presentation competition at a Biomedical Engineering Society(BES) conference!

Weian Zhao’s paper “Cell-surface sensors for real-time probing of cellular environments.” is published in Nature Nanotechnology!

James Ankrum has been awarded the prestigious Hugh Hampton Young fellowship!

Praveen Vemula’s paper “Nanoparticles reduce nickel allergy by capturing metal ions” is published in Nature Nanotechnology!

James Ankrum, a Graduate student in the lab – has been selected to attend the Nobel ceremony for 2011 to be held in Germany!

Karplab technology to control cells post-transplantation featured on Science Daily – February 2nd, 2011

Karplab featured in Boston Globe – January 17th, 2011

Debanjan Sarkar and James Ankrum’s paper “Cellular and Extracellular Programming of Cell Fate through Engineered Intracrine-, Paracrine-, and Endocrine-like Mechanisms” was accepted for publication in Biomaterials (Dec 2010).

Prof. Karp receives the 2011 Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award

The SFB Young Investigator award is given annually to recognize an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of biomaterials research within ten years following his/her terminal degree. The award lecture and prize will be given at the SFB Annual meeting at Orlando, Florida, April 13-16, 2011. The co-recipient of this award is Prof. Khademhosseini also from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Prof. Karp and Khademhosseini, who are close friends, started graduate school together at the University of Toronto and spent time in Bob Langer’s lab at MIT prior to their faculty careers.

Dr. Karp receives a grant from the Brain Science Foundation to develop novel therapies for brain tumors together with Rona Carroll and Lata Menon from BWH. 

Woo Kyung Cho – Postdoc in the Karplab – has received the National Research Foundation of Korea Fellowship!!! Only 52 people received this honor form a pool of hundreds of applicants across the country.

Dr. Karp receives a Harvard Stem Cell Institute young investigator grant to perform a high throughput screen for identifying small molecules that can promote connective tissue regeneration in zebrafish. 

Karplab Postdoc – Dr. Debanjan Sarkar – accepts a faculty offer to join the University of Buffalo.  

James Ankrum’s opinion paper in Trends in Molecular Medicine becomes the most downloaded paper from all recent publications.

Dr. Karp selected to co-chair the Regenerative Therapeutics Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Karp selected for a invited presentation at the 2010 Massachusetts Innovation Life Sciences Day

Karplab Postdoc – Dr. Lijie Zhang – accepts a faculty offer to join George Washington University.

Dr. Karp receives 2 NIH R01 grants and an NIH R21 grant to develop medical adhesives and cell based therapeutics.

Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula and his team place 2nd in the MIT 100K competition based on technology developed in the Karplab to create insulin chewing gum.  

Dr. Karp selected to receive the HST McMahon Mentoring Award – the top mentor among all faculty who mentor Harvard-MIT students. 

UROP Alan Leung accepts offer from to join Stanford’s graduate program.  

Visiting student Namit Kumar receives a research assistantship position from Stanford University.

Undergraduate research Ram Krishna Rijal is awarded the Paul E. Gray (1954) Endowment Fund for UROPs.

Dr. Weian Zhao selected to attend the 2010 Nobel Prize Ceremony. 

Visiting student Ashish Gupta accepts offer to join the graduate program at the Dresden University of Technology, Germany. 

Dr. Karp wins the Harvard Medical School CIMIT Shore Award 

Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula receives a prestigious Kauffman Entrepreneur Fellowship.

Dr. Karp selected as the Section Editor for Biology and Medicine for the journal Nanotechnology. 

Dr. Weian Zhao receives a prestigious Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship. 

Dr. Karp’s gecko adhesive technology recognized by popular mechanics “Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine” and as one of 7 “Next-gen bandages that help heal wounds”.

UROP Amrita Karambelkar secures a scholarship from the DeFlores Endowment Fund.

Dr. Karp win an NIH Young Investigator R03 grant to interrogate mesenchymal stem cell biology using in vivo imaging approaches.

Undergraduate researcher Timothy Lee wins the Paul E. Gray Endowment Fund for UROPS.  

UROP Dawn Spelke accepts offer to join Standford’s graduate program.

Dr. Karp selected to receive the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Mentor Award at MIT (selected from all MIT faculty).  

Visiting student, Cecilia Graneli accepts offer to join the graduate program at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. UROP Dawn Spelke is awarded a 2008 AMGEN UROP Scholarship.Dr. Karp has recieved Technology Review’s 2008 Young Innovator Award for his work on gecko adhesive bandages.

High school student Maeve Cullinane accepts offer to join MIT’s undergraduate program.

Cheryl Cui, an undergraduate student from University of Toronto won a best poster award in the Molecular medicine Tri-conference held at San Fransisco in February 2011


Karp Lab is awarded an ADMET eXpert 7601 1 kN Universal Testing Machine equipped with MTESTQuattro®. [Aug 2009] [ADMET 20 Year Celebration Biomedical Testing System Giveaway] [ ADMET eXpert 7601 1 kN Universal Testing Machine]


Praveen Kumar Vemula is one of 13 researchers in the world to receive the prestigious 2009 Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. [Aug 4, 2009] 
[Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, August 5, 2009] [Brigham & Women's Hospital, August 10, 2009] [BusinessWeek.com, August 05, 2009]· 


Dr. Karp receives NIH funding to study the behavior of adult stem cells in vivo. [June 2009]· 


Undergraduate researcher Ram Krishna Rijal (’12) is awarded the Paul E. Gray (1954) Endowment Fund for UROPs. The endowment will go towards supporting his summer research. [06/09/09]· 


Weian Zhao receives the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowship [03/23/2009]
[McMaster University Department of Chemistry, March 23, 2009] [Brigham & Women's Hospital, June 09, 2009]·Weian Zhao receives an Innovation Challenge Award from NSERC, Canada [09/25/2008]
[McMaster University Daily News, Canada] [Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network] · 


Dr. Karp joins the Scientific Advisory Board of Stemgent [09/20/08]· 


Dr. Karp is invited to speak at the Human Pluripotent Stem Cells symposium in Ireland – sponsored by abcam [09/20/08]· Dr. Karp is awarded the Technology Review’s 2008 Young Innovator Award for his gecko-inspired surgical tape. [08/20/08]· 


Dr. Karp wins a Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association (Founder’s Affiliate) to develop gecko inspired pericardial tissue adhesives for localized drug delivery to the heart. [06/18/08]· 


Dr. Karp receives an investigation award from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center to enhance the adhesion of his gecko inspired adhesives through improved surface chemistry and morphology. [06/13/08]· 


Undergraduate researcher Amrita Karambelkar (’11) wins the DeFlorez Endowment Fund for UROPS to fund her summer research.· 


Undergraduate researcher Timothy Lee (’11) wins the Paul E. Gray Endowment Fund for UROPs based on his summer UROP proposal. The endowment will go towards supporting his summer research.· 


Professor Jeffrey Karp wins the Outstanding Faculty UROP Mentor Award at MIT. [05/29/08] [06/05/08]· 


Karp Lab’s own Dawn Spelke (’09) is awarded the 2008 AMGEN UROP Scholarship, an award that invites undergrads to participate in faculty-monitored summer research in science and biotechnology areas. [03/08/08]· Young Engineers Selected to Participate in NAE’s 2007 US Frontiers of Engineers Symposium [06/18/07]


Interesting Articles· CNN.com – August 12, 2009, Stem Cells May Offer Promise For Damaged Hearts· Science – August 7, 2009, Taken for Granted, Doing Something about the Postdoc Mess· Nature – August 6, 2009, Nature Reports Stem Cells: The Delivery Dilemma· NY Times – June 27, 2009, Forty Years’ War – Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers To Play It Safe

Self-Assembling Nano-Particle Gel October 2008 · Self-Assembling Nano-Fiber Gel Delivers High Concentrations of Clinically Approved Drugs [Harvard Sciences & Technology] [ScienceDaily]

Engineered Homing of Stem Cells October 2008 · Simple Chemical Procedure Augments Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells [Eurka! Science] [Harvard Medicine]

gecko Gecko Inspired Adhesive Bandage February – March 2008· Gecko Tech [Popular Science] · Geckos’ Feet Inspire New High-Tech Bandage [CNN]· Gecko Feet Inspire Waterproof Bandage [Mumbai News]· Gecko Grip Equals Better Band-Aid [Wired]· Gecko Inspires Wonder Bandage [United Press International]· MIT Creates Gecko-Inspired Bandages [MIT News]

cancer cell Device to Capture Circulating Cancer Cells October – December 2007 · Cell Rolling to Neutralize Spreading Cancer Cells [The Future of Things]· Slowing Cell Rolling in the Bloodstream [Scitizen]· Device To Capture and Treat Cells in Blood Stream? [Science Daily]· MIT Works Toward Novel Therapeutic Device [MIT News]

medical symbol Other· HST Faculty Jeff Karp announces biomaterials surgical video library [09/11/07]· HST Welcomes Faculty Member Jeffrey Karp [07/05/07] · Self-assembling nano-fiber gel delivers high concentrations of clinically approved drugs [10/21/08]· Simple chemical procedure augments therapeutic potential of stem cells [10/31/08]

Bernice Huang


Liying Bernice Huang <lbhuang@mit.edu>

Hi! I am a sophomore studying biological engineering at MIT and am excited to work in the Karp lab on stem cell engineering, especially because of its promise to improve lives through ground-breaking treatments in the medical field. In my free time, I enjoy reading, travel, exercise (occasionally =) ), and volunteering on the campus ambulance, although I am always up for trying new things and meeting new people.

Amrita Karambelkar


Amrita Karambelkar <amritak@mit.edu>

Hi, my name is Amrita Karambelkar and I am a freshman at MIT, hoping to major in Chemical and Biological Engineering. I am pre-med, and I want to go to medical school after graduation. Because of my academic and career interests, the research at the HST department is very interesting to me. I am thrilled to be working as a UROP at the Karp lab, because I really enjoy research and hands-on learning. In my spare time, I love reading, being with friends, dancing, and playing all kinds of sports, especially basketball.

Fiona Yuen

Fiona Yuen

Fiona Yuen <fyuen@mit.edu>

Hi, I’m a junior at MIT, majoring in mechanical engineering (the biology track). I’m hoping either to go into medical school or into biomedical engineering. I like to sing although I’m bad at it, to play World of Warcraft, and to read for fun.

Crystal Mao

[photopress:Councilprof_1.jpg,full,alignleft]Crystal Mao <cmao@mit.edu>

I’m currently enjoying the frigid New England winters while studying bioengineering and management science at MIT. The cutting edge stem cell work that is going on in the Karp lab is all extremely exciting, and I am especially motivated by the prospect of applying novel engineering approaches towards treatments that can directly and immediately benefit patients. I am also interested in the policy side of everything that is health and healthcare related. Originally from Northern California, other loves include figure skating, literature, macs, lively debate, cafe culture, and (the perennial weakness of all girls) shoes.

Jasmine Kamboj


Jasmine Kamboj

I joined Dr. Karp’s lab as a Graduate Research Associate in January 2008. Prior to this, I completed my bachelor’s in Medicine at the AFMC, Pune in India. I also worked at the Wheaton Franciscan Hospital in Milwaukee for three months in the Department of Internal Medicine, Immunology and Paediatrics. My areas of interest include stem cell based therapeutics, development of novel Polymeric/ stem cell systems for applications in Regenerative Medicine, Gamma Imaging and Bispecific Antibody Modulation. On the clinical side my field of interest is Radiology and Radiodiagnosis.

My hobbies include basketball, visiting new places, watching loads of TV, movies. Since, I am new to Boston so I make it a point to explore the city and visit the exquisite places in the New England area.

Cecilia Granéli


Cecilia Granéli <bt03grce@student.chalmers.se>

I joined the Karp in September 2007 from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg Sweden. I’m writing my master thesis in Bioengineering during a 5 months visit to HST and Boston. I have focused my studies on protein engineering, immunology and tissue engineering and I am very passionate about so called BioPharma and stem cells therapy. It is somewhere within these areas of research I aim to work after graduating. I am enjoying my stay in Boston and spend my free time discovering the city and New England.

Timothy Lee


Timothy R Lee <timlee@mit.edu>

My name is Tim Lee and I’m very excited to be working at the Karp Lab. I am a freshman at MIT and hope to double major in biology and economics with the intention of going to medical school. I have lived in Natick, MA for most of my life and like to play sports, watch TV, and study.

Lisa Tacoronte


Lisa C Tacoronte <lisataco@mit.edu)

Dawn Spelke

[photopress:Gvlta_091607_003.jpg,full,alignright]Dawn Spelke <dspelke@mit.edu>Hi! My name is Dawn and I am currently a Junior at MIT majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. I am interested in the application of fusing stem cells to solve medical problems through tissue engineering and regeneration approaches – what the Karp Lab is all about. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Bioengineering after I graduate, although where I would like to go is something I haven’t quite figured out yet. Outside of the lab, I am very involved in the undergraduate BE student board, am a member of TBP, and volunteer at MGH. Finally, in what little free time I have, I enjoy reading, listening to music, shopping, and playing IM sports.

Shan Tie

I’m majoring in chemical-biological engineering and probably a minor in brain
and cognitive science. I was interested in doing research in Karp Lab because
I’m drawn to both the materials synthesis and engineering along with developing
biological applications of these materials.




Jeff Borenstein – Director of the Biomedical Engineering Center, Draper Laboratory (nanofabrication)


Christopher V. Carman – Assistant professor, Beth Israel Deaconess (Molecular & Vascular Medicine)


David Carter – Draper Laboratory (nano/microfabrication)


Utkan Demerci – Assistant professor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and HST (microfluidics)


Omid Farokhzad – Anesthesiologist, Brigham and Women’s hospital

Lino Ferreira – Assistant Professor, BIOCANT, Portugal (stem cell engineering)

Leonard B. Kaban – Chief of maxillofacial surgery, MGH and Harvard Medical School

Phil Kantoff – Director, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Gil Kaplan – Gastroenterologist, University of Calgary


Rohit Karnik – Assistant professor, MIT Mechanical Engineering (microfluidics)

Ali Khademhosseini – Assistant professor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and HST (BioMEMS)

Robert Langer – Institute professor, MITCharles Lin – Wellman Center for Photomedicine


Peter Masiakos – Pediatric Surgeon – MGH/Harvard Medical School


C. Keith Ozaki, M.D., F.A.C.S.  Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical Schoo


Dan Peer - Harvard Immune Disease Institute (liposomes and RNAi)

Shiladitya Sengupta – Assistant professor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and HST (nanoparticles)


Alex SlocumPappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering MIT (precision devices)


Cathryn Sundback – Assistant professor, MGH/Harvard Medical School (biocompatibility)


Thomas Thornhill – Chief of orthopedic surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Joseph Vacanti – Chief of MGH Hospital for Children / Harvard Medical School


Krystyn J. Van Vliet – Thomas Lord Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, MIT (nano-indentation)

Evelyn Wang – Assistant professor of mechanical engineering, MIT (magnetic surfaces)


We have over 750 sq. ft. of laboratory space in the Partners Research Building at 65 Landsdowne Street, on the Harvard campus and office space adjacent to the main laboratory. Spearate office space is available to podtdoctoral fellows, technicians, and graduate students.



One of the fundamental problems in drug-delivery is striking a balance between toxicity and therapeutic effect. Hydrogels have been widely applied as intelligent carriers in controlled drug-delivery systems. Self-assembled hydrogel-based drug-delivery has been hindered by the unknown fate of the host gelator after the gel degradation. Thus, we propose a conceptually novel approach to address these limitations. The existing ambiguity can be substantially decreased by designing prodrug-based LMWGs from existing drugs whose metabolic pathways are well documented (See Figure below).

Our present approach (degradable prodrug-based self-assembled hydrogels) overcomes this hurdle as it degrades into pure drug with a single biocompatible fatty acid upon enzyme mediated gel degradation. In addition, this approach provides an opportunity to engineer the delivery systems in responsive to biological stimuli such as an enzyme.

We are developing low-molecular-weight amphiphiles from known-drugs (pro-drugs) with enzyme labile links which can undergo self-assembly to generate hierarchical nanostructures. These enzyme responsive drug delivery systems are non-cytotoxic, biocompatible and biodegradable with potential for simultaneous delivery of multiple drugs. Since every molecule in the gel contains drug, this approach offers high drug loading. We have recently generated amphiphilic gelators from known-drugs such as Tylenol®, (Biomaterials. 2009 Jan;30(3):383-93). This work is in collaboration with George John from the City College of New York.

Self-Assembled Drugs

Self-Assembled Drugs ASelf-Assembled Drugs B


We are in the process of developing a new class of degradable elastomers that we aim to rapidly translate to the clinic through focusing on important medical problems that affect the lives of millions worldwide.Elastomers 1

Medical Devices

In collaboration with Alex Slocum and Erik Bassett at MIT, we have developed a new needle sensing device that can detect travel of needles through various tissues. This can be used to significantly reduce complications associated with placement of needles, wires and catheters.

We are developing degradable therapeutic shape change materials – stay tuned as data becomes available.

There is a significant medical need for tough, biodegradable polymer adhesives for closing and sealing wounds or incisions that can accommodate various mechanical deformations while remaining strongly attached to the underlying tissue. These materials would be particularly useful as replacement or support for sutures that are sometimes difficult to manipulate during laparoscopic or microscopic procedures, and/ or could be used as patches to aid in hemostasis to improve the visibility of the operative field, or as drug delivery patches for internal use. The potential advantages of using these materials include reduction in operating time and tissue handling, as well as mitigation of surgical complications such as infection. Although numerous tissue adhesives exist, presently none of them can withstand high tensile strength or can be rapidly applied in a tape or sheet format that matches the compliance of underlying tissue with a programmable rate of degradation.


To address this problem, we have taken inspiration from how geckos can climb vertical surfaces and incorporated aspects of Gecko-adhesion into a novel biodegradable and biocompatible elastomeric material that we co-developed with Robert Langer at MIT. We have demonstrated a proof of concept against tissue in vitro and in vivo and are now fine tuning the system for rapid translation to the clinic to help millions of patients.

Stem Cell Engineering


We are working towards development of intraoperative autologous stem cell based therapeutics that can be performed rapidly under emergent situations (e.g., within emergency room or battlefield settings).

IntraOperative Stem Cell Therapy 1 2 3 4

Concept for intraoperative programmable stem cell therapy: A) a bone marrow aspirate obtained within the operating room is placed within (B) a disposable bioreactor containing pre-programmed cell adhesive microcarriers containing a single factor or multiple factors for differentiation into multiple cell types (i.e. BMP-2 for osteogenic differentiation or VEGF for endothelial differentiation). (C) Connective tissue progenitors adhere to the microcarriers and are (D) isolated and combined with bone graft substitute for transplantation into a bone defect. Upon implantation, the mircrocarriers release growth factors which encourage differentiation of particular cells types on their surface and subsequent tissue generation.         *note bioreactor contains cell repellant coating and cells only bind to carriers.



Cell rolling is an important physiological and pathological process that is used to recruit specific cells in the bloodstream to a target tissue. This process may be exploited for biomedical applications to capture and separate specific cell types. One of the most commonly studied proteins that regulate cell rolling is P-selectin. By coating surfaces with this protein, biofunctional surfaces that induce cell rolling can be prepared.

Human existence and longevity relies on the ability of cells to travel through the bloodsteam to distant regions in the body to aid in tissue repair. One may question, “how can fast moving cells in blood possibly locate and stop within specific tissues?” Blood vessels contain a layer of cells called endothelial cells that are in continuous contact with
flowing blood. During inflammation, the endothelial cells express certain adhesive arms, or molecules, on their surface which grab onto specific moving cells and cause them to slow down and roll. This permits the cells to further reduce their speed and sense regenerative or other signals originating from damaged or diseased tissues.

Cell rolling is of primary biological importance given its role in recruitment of blood cells to sites of inflammation, homing of stem cells during bone marrow transplantation, and it is involved in the pathology of cancer metastasis where tumor cells may break off from a tumor and travel through the blood stream to initiate tumor formation at a distant sites.

The molecules on the endothelial cells which induce cell rolling are called selectins and have been the subject of intensive study for decades. However, all studies to date have utilized simple adsorption of selectins to surfaces which are unstable and not translatable to an implantable device.

Selectin Modification
Recently we developed a new technology to enhance the stability of selectins on implant surfaces. We demonstrated a 30 fold increase in the stability of selectins. Through enhancing the stable presentation of selectins within a device which may be directly connected to blood vessels, particular cell types traveling through the bloodstream such as cancer cells or stem cells can be captured. These results are directly applicable to the design of therapeutic or diagnostic devices.

We continue to develop this device and work on new chip based technologies to sort cells for stem cell and cancer diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

We have initiated a journey to elucidate fundamental aspects of cell migration that have not been previously reported. Stay tuned as data becomes available.

Maeve Cullinane

[photopress:maeve.jpg,thumb,alignright]Hi! I’m Maeve and I am a high school senior . I enjoy learning about math and science. I am also an avid recycling fan, and a co-founder of my school’s recycling club. I encourage anyone reading this to remember to recycle and also to adopt an animal in need from your local shelter!

Le Wut Yee


Le W Yee <lwyee@mit.edu>

My name is Le. I’m currently a sophomore at MIT, studying Chemical and Biological Engineering. I hope to go to graduate school or medical school after my undergraduate studies. I’m from Myanmar (aka Burma) and my family moved to U.S. when I was in tenth grade. I like being outdoors, playing tennis, and swimming (only for fun :P).

Alan Leung


Cheuk L Leung <clleung@mit.edu>

Hi, I am a sophomore at MIT, majoring in Chemical-Biological Engineering. I am interested in doing research that have applications to help people’s lives. I would like to go to graduate school after my undergraduate studies. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, frisbee, ping pong, and reading.