Nicholas A. Peppas

Nicholas A. Peppas
Nicholas A. Peppas

Nicholas A. Peppas
Born August 25, 1948
Athens, Greece
Residence Flag of the United States.svg USA
Nationality Flag of the United States.svg USA Flag of Greece.svg Greece
Fields Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomaterials, Drug Delivery
Institutions The University of Texas at Austin
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Technical University of Athens
Doctoral advisor Edward W. Merrill
Known for Hydrogels, swellable systems, Peppas equation, Korsmeyer-Peppas equation, Peppas-Reinhart theory, Brannon-Peppas theory, oral protein delivery, intelligent polymers, recognitive release systems.
Notable awards Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal (2010), SURA Award (2010), Founders Award AIChE (2008), Janot Award (2010), Galletti Award AIMBE (2008), Walker Award AIChE (2006), Bailey Award SBE (2006)

Nicholas (Nikolaos) A. Peppas (Greek: Νικόλαος Α. Πέππας; born in Athens, Greece on August 25, 1948) is a chemical and biomedical engineer whose leadership in biomaterials science and engineering, drug delivery, bionanotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences, chemical and polymer engineering has led to numerous biomedical products or devices.


Education and work

He was educated in chemical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (D. Eng., 1971) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sc.D., 1973) under the direction of bioengineering pioneer Edward W. Merrill.[1] Subsequently, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Arteriosclerosis Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under world biomedical leaders Clark K. Colton,[2] Kenneth A. Smith[3] and Robert S. Lees.[4]

He is the Fletcher Stuckey Pratt Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and Chairman of the Biomedical Engineering Department. He has been at the University of Texas at Austin since December 2002 and is also serving as the Director of the Center of Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Bionanotechnology and Molecular Recognition[5] with appointments in the Department of Chemical Engineering,[6] the Department of Biomedical Engineering[7] and the College of Pharmacy[8] at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he was the Showalter Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.

Peppas is a leading researcher, inventor and pacesetter in the field of drug delivery and controlled release, a field that along with Robert Langer, he developed into a mature area of scholarly research. He is also a leader in biomaterials and bionanotechnology, and has contributed seminal work in the fields of feedback controlled biomedical devices and molecular recognition. The multidisciplinary approach of his research in bionanotechnology and biomolecular engineering blends modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering to generate the next-generation of medical systems and devices, including bioMEMS with enhanced applicability, reliability, functionality, and longevity. His contributions have been translated into more than twenty medical products.

Peppas is a member of the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Académie Nationale of France, and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Sciences of Texas (TAMEST).[9] He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ghent (Belgium, 1999), the University of Parma (Italy, 2000), and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens(Greece, 2000). He is one of five chemical engineers (the others being Frances Arnold of the California Institute of Technology, Rakesh Jain of Harvard, Robert Langer of MIT, and his former student Kristi Anseth of the University of Colorado) and eight biomedical engineers to be active members in both the NAE and IOM.[10]

He is President of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (2008–2012) and serves as a Director of the Biomedical Engineering Society (2008–2011). He has served as the Chair of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE, 2006–2007), President of the Society for Biomaterials (SFB, 2003–2004), President of the Controlled Release Society (CRS, 1987–1988), Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE, 1999-2002), Chairman of the Materials Division of AIChE (1988–90) and Director of the Bioengineering Division of AIChE (1994–97). Peppas was Editor of the leading biomaterials science journal Biomaterials[11] from 1982 to 2002. Presently, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Wiley/SFB biomaterials Book Series, an Associate Editor of the AIChE Journal,[12] an Associate Editor of Biomedical Microdevices, a Consulting Editor of Pharmaceutical Research[13] and an Associate Editor of the Cambridge University Press Biomedical Series.[14]

He is an inaugural Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, an inaugural Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS), an inaugural Fellow of the CRS, a founding Fellow of AIMBE, a Fellow of the Society for Biomaterials, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and an Honorary fellow of the Italian Society of Medicine and Natural Sciences.[15]

He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Geneva, University of Paris-Sud (Orsay/Chatenay-Malabry), University of Parma, University of Pavia, University of Naples Federico II, Free University of Berlin, University of Santiago de Compostela, Complutense University of Madrid, Hoshi University, Tokyo, Hacettepe University, Ankara, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the California Institute of Technology.

Peppas is a leading scientist of modern drug delivery. He has helped to set the fundamentals and rational design of drug delivery systems and biomaterials over the past 35 years. He was the first to set the theories and equations that led to the design of a wide range of new systems. For example, using biomedical engineering principles and new biomedical transport theories, Peppas developed the equations that describe Fickian and non-Fickian diffusion of drugs, peptides and proteins in controlled release devices. The “Peppas equation” has become the standard method of analysis of pharmaceutical formulations or systems.[16] His earliest work also led to the development of a number of swelling-controlled release devices for the release of small molecular weight drugs. Using the modeling similarities of phase erosion and state erosion, he developed a unified model for all drug delivery systems.[17] Similarly, he developed the theoretical framework for the analysis of transport through crosslinked biomaterials (the Peppas-Reinhart theory,[18] ionic hydrogels (the Brannon-Peppas theory[19]), and gel-tissue interactions via tethers (the Huang-Peppas theory[20] and the Sahlin-Peppas equation[21]). For the profound impact of these theories and analyses, Peppas has been recognized as the most cited and highly published author in “drug delivery”, “biomaterials and drug delivery”, and “intelligent materials”. He is listed as a Highly Cited ResearcherSM of Thomson Scientific and the Institute of Scientific Information.[22] He has also ranked as one of the most cited scientists[23] and engineers[24] with an H-index of 81.

Applications of his theories and mathematical models have had a profound effect in the field.[25] Peppas and his students originated the novel muco- and bioadhesive systems that interact molecularly with the mucus and tissue and have been able to prolong bioavailability of proteins and peptides in the blood. As a result of his work, a number of biomedical polymers and commercial delivery devices have been launched. Peppas was the first to develop novel toxic-free poly(vinyl alcohol) gels by the freezing-thawing technique in 1975.[26] These gels became very successful articular cartilage replacement systems.[27][28] In 1978, he developed the same systems for in situ replacement of vocal cords.[29] In 1979 his group pioneered the use of hydrogels in drug delivery applications, including epidermal bioadhesive systems[30] and systems for the release of theophylline,[31] proxyphylline, diltiazem, and oxprenolol.[32] Peppas’ lab has developed new technologies of oral delivery systems for insulin and other proteins.[33][34] These devices release insulin orally, “protecting” the insulin throughout its transport in the stomach, upper small intestine, and, eventually, blood, and bypassing diabetics’ need for several daily injections.[35][36] The same technology has been used for the transmucosal (oral, buccal) delivery of calcitonin (for treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women)[37] and interferon-alpha (for cancer therapy), and is presently investigated for interferon-beta release for multiple sclerotic patients.[38] Peppas was one of the pioneers of intelligent biomaterials, and medical devices. Using intelligent polymers[39][40] as early as 1980, Peppas and his group were the first to use such pH-sensitive and temperature-sensitive systems for modulated release of streptokinase and other fibrinolytic enzymes.

Peppas has founded three companies: Mimetic Solutions, a company that commercializes recognitive systems and is in the forefront of intelligent device and bioMEMs development, Appian Labs and CoraDyn Biosystems for the commercialization of various pharmaceutical products and medical devices. He is the author of 1,100 publications, and numerous proceedings papers and abstracts. He is the coauthor or coeditor of 35 books, including the three-volume Hydrogels in Medicine and Pharmacy (CRC Press, 1987),[41] the monograph Pulsatile Drug Delivery (WSGS, Stuttgart, 1993), two books on Biopolymers (Springer, 1994), the monograph Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Biomaterials (Academic Press, 2004[42]), the book Intelligent Therapeutics: Biomimetic Systems and Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery (Elsevier, 2004), the monograph Nanotechnology in Therapeutics (Horizon Press, 2007[43]) and the book Chronobiology and Drug Delivery (Elsevier, 2007).


He has been awarded more than 100 international awards. These include:

  • the highest distinction from the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (the Pierre Galletti Award[44] (2008))[45]
  • the highest distinctions of the Society for Biomaterials (the Founders Award for Lifetime Contributions[46][47] (2005), the William Hall Award for Service (2010) and the Clemson Award for Basic Research[48] (1992))
  • the Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal (2010)
  • the highest recognition from the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA Distinguished Scientist Award (2010))
  • the highest research recognitions from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (the Founders Award [49] (2008), the 59th Institute Lecture[50] (2007), the William Walker Award[51] (2006)) as well as the Food, Pharmaceuticals and Bioengineering Award[52] (1991) and the CMA Stine Materials Science and Engineering Award[53] (1984)
  • the Jay Bailey Award[54] from the Society for Biological Engineering (2006)
  • the highest recognitions of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (the 2002 Dale E. Wurster Award in Pharmaceutics,[55] and the 1999 Research Achievement Award in Pharmaceutical Technology)
  • the highest recognitions of the Controlled Release Society (the 1991 Founders Award[55] and the 2002 Eurand Award for Outstanding Contributions in Oral Drug Delivery)
  • the highest recognition from the European Pharmaceutical Associations, APGI, APV and ADRITELF (2010 the Maurice-Marie Janot Award)
  • the highest recognitions of the American Society for Engineering Education (the 2000 General Electric Senior Research Award recognizing the best engineering researcher of the USA[56]), as well as the 1992 George Westinghouse Award recognizing the best teacher,[57] the 1988 Curtis McGraw Award for best engineering research under the age of 40,[58] and the 2006 Dow Chemical Engineering Award
  • the 2002 Newsmaker of the Year Award of the American Chemical Society

In addition, he has received the highest scientific recognitions from both Universities with which he has been associated:

  • the 2007 Career Excellence Research Award from the University of Texas at Austin (first engineer in the history of the award)[59]
  • the 2004 Hamilton Award for best paper from the University of Texas at Austin
  • the 2002 Sigma Xi Award for Best Research from Purdue University[60]
  • the 2000 McCoy Award[61] from Purdue University (second engineer in the 40 year history of the award)[62]

In 2008 he was selected as one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.[63] In 1991, the journal Polymer News recognized him as a polymer pioneer. Finally, in 2002, he was recognized as a biomedical pioneer[64] by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

Researchers under his supervision

Peppas has supervised more than 690 researchers, visiting scientists and graduate students including 86 PhDs, of which 38 are now professors in other Universities. Many others have become leading biomedical scientists, engineers, physicians and medical professionals. Peppas’ former students are affectionately called “peppamers”.[65] Among the numerous graduates from his laboratories, there are some of the leaders of drug delivery, biomaterials, bionanotechnology, polymer science and pharmaceutical sciences including the NAE and IOM member, HHMI Investigator and NSF Alan T. Waterman, SFB Clemson and AIChE Colburn awards recipient Kristi Anseth of the University of Colorado; the AIChE Colburn, Wilhelm and SFB Clemson awards recipient Christopher Bowman of the University of Colorado; the Alpha Chi Sigma, BMES and SFB Clemson awards recipient Antonios Mikos of Rice University; the TR100 recipients Balaji Narasimhan of Iowa State University, Anthony Lowman of Drexel University and Surya Mallapragada of Iowa State University; the ACS polymer award recipient Alec Scranton of the University of Iowa, Robert Parker of the University of Pittsburgh, the Fulbright Scholars Christopher Brazel of the University of Alabama, Bruno Gander of ETH Zurich, Madeline Torres-Lugo of the University of Puerto Rico, Jürgen Siepmann of the University of Lille, France, Irma Sanchez of the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, Todd Gehr, Chief of Nephrology of the Virginia Commonwealth University, Dukjoon Kim of the Sung Kyun Kwan University of Korea, the AIChE ChE Practice award[66] recipient Lisa Brannon of the University of Texas, Zach Hilt and Tom Dziubla of the University of Kentucky, the ASEE ChE and Keillor[67] awards recipient Jennifer Sinclair Curtis of the University of Florida, Yanbin Huang of the Tsinghua University, Mark Byrne of Auburn University, Lisa Shieh of Stanford University Medical School, MyungCheon Lee of the Dongguk University of Korea, Eurand award recipient[68] Ruggero Bettini of the University of Parma, Italy, Esmaiel Jabbari and Jay Blanchette of the University of South Carolina, David Henthorn of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Eric Dietz of Purdue University, Catherine Dubernet of the University of Paris-Sud, Jessica Guingrich of the Medical School of the University of Illinois, Ebru Oral of the Harvard Medical School, Mara Lovrecich of the University of Padova, Hideki Ichikawa of the Kobe Gakuin University, Bumsang Kim of the Hongik University of Korea and Oya Sipahigil of the Marmara University of Istanbul.

Personal life

Nicholas Peppas and his wife, Lisa,[69] whom he met at Purdue University where she received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, have two children, Katherine and Alexander. They reside in Austin, Texas. Peppas is involved in writing about the history of chemical engineering and has published books[70] and review articles[71] on the subject. His latest review of the Centennial of AIChE was published by the Chemical Heritage Foundation in August 2008.[72] Peppas is also an avid record collector and author of biographies and monographs on opera.[73] A recent book on Vasso Argyris: The Great Greek Tenor of the Interwar Years was published in 2008.[74]


  1. ^ Edward W. Merrill[dead link]
  2. ^ Clark K. Colton[dead link]
  3. ^ Kenneth A. Smith[dead link]
  4. ^ "Robert S. Lees". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Nicholas A. Peppas, Ph.D". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  6. ^ "Department of Chemical Engineering - University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  7. ^ "Department of Biomedical Engineering - University of Texas at Austin". 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  8. ^ "University of Texas - College of Pharmacy - Austin Facutly Directory". 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  9. ^ "The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas". TAMEST. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
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  15. ^ "Società di Medicina". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ N.A. Peppas and S.R. Lustig: "The Role of Crosslinks, Entanglements and Relaxations of the Macromolecular Carrier in the Diffusional Release of Biologically Active Materials: Conceptual and Scaling Relationships," Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 446, 26-41 (1985)
  18. ^ N.A. Peppas and C.T. Reinhart, Solute diffusion in swollen membranes. Part I: A new theory. J. Membr. Sci. 15, 275-287 (1983))
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ Y Huang, W Leobandung, A Foss and N.A Peppas, Molecular aspects of muco- and bioadhesion: tethered structures and site-specific surfaces, J. Control. Release 65, 63–71 (2000)
  21. ^ J.J. Sahlin and N.A. Peppas, Enhanced hydrogel adhesion by polymer interdiffusion: Use of linear poly(ethylene glycol) as an adhesion promoter, J. Biomat Sci, Polym Ed, 8, 421-436 (1997)
  22. ^ "[ISI Highly Cited Researchers Version 1.5]". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ N.A. Peppas, Turbidimetric studies of aqueous poly(vinyl alcohol) solutions. Makromol. Chem. 176 3433–3440 (1975)
  27. ^ N.A. Peppas: "Hydrogels for Synthetic Articular Cartilage Applications," SPE Techn. Papers (NATEC), 62-63 (1977)
  28. ^ N. A. Peppas, Characterization of homogeneous and pseudocomposite homopolymers and copolymers for articular cartilage replacement, Biomaterials, Medical Devices, and Artificial Organs 7(3), 421-33, (1979)
  29. ^ N.A. Peppas and R.E. Benner Jr, Method of intracordal injection and gelation of poly (vinyl alcohol) solution in vocal cords, Biomaterials, 1, 158-62 (1980)
  30. ^ N.K. Mongia, K.S. Anseth and N.A. Peppas, "Mucoadhesive Poly(vinyl alcohol) Hydrogels Produced by Freezing/Thawing Processes: Applications in the Development of Wound Healing Systems," J. Biomat. Sci., Polym. Ed., 7, 1055-1064 (1996)
  31. ^ R.W. Korsmeyer and N.A. Peppas: "Effect of the Morphology of Hydrophilic Polymeric Matrices on the Diffusion and Release of Water Soluble Drugs," J. Membr. Sci., 9, 211-227 (1981)
  32. ^ R. Gurny, N.A. Peppas, D.D. Harrington and G.S. Banker: "Development of Biodegradable and Injectable Latices for Controlled Release of Potent Drugs," Drug Devel. Ind. Pharm., 7, 1-25 (1981)
  33. ^ N.A. Peppas, Devices based on intelligent biopolymers for oral protein delivery, Intern. J. Pharm, 277, 11-17 (2004)
  34. ^ "Diabetes & Insulin: Beyond the Injection? | Pharmaceutical Manufacturing". 2005-03-17. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  35. ^ by Brooke Borel (2008-05-02). "Insulin pills could cut the need for needles". COSMOS magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  36. ^ "Sanità: creato gel per insulina direttamente nell'intestino Ricerca Diabete Libero, un punto fermo in mare aperto". 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  37. ^ M. Torres-Lugo, M. Garcia, R. Record and N.A. Peppas, “Physicochemical Behavior and Cytotoxic Effects of P(MAA-g-EG) Nanospheres for Oral Delivery of Proteins,” J. Controlled Release, 80, 197-205 (2002)
  38. ^ Primary Care Breakthrough December 22, 2010 (2010-12-22). "Focus | News from Harvard Medical, Dental and Public Health Schools". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  39. ^ N.A. Peppas and LS. Flosenzier, Life Support Syst., 4 (Suppl. 2) 395 (1986)
  40. ^ L. Brannon-Peppas and N.A. Peppas Dynamic and equilibrium swelling behaviour of pH-sensitive hydrogels containing 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate. Biomaterials, 11, 635-44 (1990)
  41. ^ "Hydrogels in Medn & PHARM Vol 2 (Hydrogels in Medicine & Pharmacy) (9780849355479): Nicholas A. Peppas: Books". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  42. ^ "Advances in Chemical Engineering Vol. 29 : Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Biomaterials (0120085291) by Nicholas Peppas, Michael J. Sefton @". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  43. ^ "Nanotechnology in therapeutics: current technology and applications [Book]". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  44. ^ [4][dead link]
  45. ^ [5][dead link]
  46. ^ "Professor N. A. Peppas receives the Founders Award of the Society for Biomaterials - News Archive: 2002-2004 - News - Department of Biomedical Engineering - University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  47. ^ "Society for Biomaterials - Past Awardees". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
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  50. ^ "AIChE". AIChE. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  51. ^ "AIChE". AIChE. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  52. ^ "AIChE". AIChE. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  53. ^ "AIChE". AIChE. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  54. ^ "James E. Bailey Award For Biological Engineering". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  55. ^ a b "CRS - AWARDS - Past Award Recipients". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
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  57. ^ [7][dead link]
  58. ^ [8][dead link]
  59. ^ "Dr. Nicholas Peppas receives Co-op Career Research Excellence Award - News Archive: 2007 - News - Department of Biomedical Engineering - University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  60. ^ "Professor Nicholas A. Peppas to Receive Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award - Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University". 2002-03-20. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  61. ^ [9][dead link]
  62. ^ [10][dead link]
  63. ^ "Historic and Modern Era Engineers". AIChE. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  64. ^ . PMID 12119875. 
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  66. ^ "AIChE". AIChE. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
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  69. ^ "Homepage Features - Chemical Engineering, Purdue University". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  70. ^
  71. ^ "History of ChEn: Bibliography". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  72. ^ Nicholas A. Peppas. "The First Century of Chemical Engineering | Chemical Heritage Foundation". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  73. ^ "Chemical engineers with many loves and a social conscience: Profile of a husband and wife team". Chemical Engineering Progress. 2000. 
  74. ^

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