Peter Searson, the Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor of Engineering and a professor of materials science and engineering, uses tissue engineering, novel biomaterials and stem cell biology to create in vitro models of vascular systems. Searson holds joint appointments in the departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Oncology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Physics and Astronomy. He also is director of the Measurement Corps, part of inHealth—the Johns Hopkins Individualized Health Initiative.
Recent research projects have focused on using a reverse engineering approach to develop in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier and the tumor microenvironment. For example, Searson’s lab is using tissue engineering and stem cell biology to develop models of the blood-brain barrier—the interface that separates the brain from the circulatory system, protecting the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals while regulating the transport of essential nutrients. These human models are being used for fundamental studies of neurogenesis, vascularization, and development, as well as mechanistic studies of disease progression, treatment, repair, drug and gene delivery, and toxicity.
Searson is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Electrochemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of several professional societies, including the Materials Research Society, American Chemical Society, American Association for Cancer Research, International Blood Brain Barrier Society, American Heart Association, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. A member of the National Academy of Inventors, Searson twice received the IBM Distinguished Faculty Award. He sits on the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Research Council.
Searson earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Manchester in England in 1982 and did post-doctoral work in materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a research associate at MIT before joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1990.
Searson chaired the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1997 to 2003, was co-founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology from 2006 to 2016, and directed the Johns Hopkins University Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence from 2009 to 2016.