Nicholas A. Peppas Biography
Dr. Nicholas A. Peppas Ramo Founders Award
Fletcher Pratt Chair of Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin
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Nicholas Peppas is the Fletcher Pratt Chair of Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Chairman of the Biomedical Engineering Department. Peppas is a pioneer in the synthesis, characterization and dynamic behavior of polymer networks, especially in their swollen form, known as hydrogels. He has been the most influential scientist in the utilization of hydrogels as biomaterials, in bionanotechnology and in molecular recognition processes. He is also the leading researcher, inventor and pacesetter in the field of drug delivery and controlled release, a field that he developed into a mature area of scholarly and applied research. As an inventor of new biomaterials, he has contributed seminal work in the field of feedback controlled biomedical devices. The multidisciplinary approach of his research in biomolecular engineering blends modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering to generate next-generation systems and devices, including bioMEMS with enhanced applicability, reliability, functionality, and longevity. His contributions have been translated into more than twenty medical products. Dr. Peppas has set the fundamentals and rational design of drug delivery systems and biomaterials over the past forty years. Peppas was the first to develop the theories and equations that led to the design of a wide range of new delivery systems. For example, using new biomedical transport theories, Peppas developed the equations that describe Fickian and non-Fickian drug, peptide and protein diffusion/delivery from controlled release devices. The ensuing equations (Korsmeyer-Peppas models) have become the standard method of analysis of any pharmaceutical device. Similarly, he developed the theoretical framework for the analysis of transport through crosslinked biomaterials (the Peppas-Reinhart theory), ionic hydrogels (the Brannon-Peppas theory), and gel-tissue interactions via tethers (the Huang-Peppas theory and the Sahlin-Peppas equation). For the profound impact of these theories and analyses, Peppas has been recognized as one of the most cited scientists in the world with more than 44,000 citations and an H-index of 102.

Peppas was educated in chemical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece (Dipl. Eng., 1971) and at MIT (Sc.D., 1973). He has honorary doctorates from the University of Ghent, Belgium, the University of Parma, Italy, the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Geneva, Paris-Sud, Parma, Pavia, Naples, Free University of Berlin, Santiago de Compostela, Complutense (Madrid), Hoshi (Tokyo), Hacettepe (Ankara), Athens, Hebrew University (Jerusalem), Nanyang University (Singapore) and the California Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Peppas is a member of NAE, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the National Academy of France, the Royal National Academy of Pharmacy of Spain, and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Sciences of Texas. He is the author or co-editor of 35 books, 1,100 publications and about fifty international patents. He is President of the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Previously, he served as President of the Society for Biomaterials, President of the Controlled Release Society, Director of AIChE, Chair of the College of Fellows of AIMBE, and the BME Chairs Council. He is Associate Editor of the Biomedical Engineering Series of Books of Cambridge University Press, and the journals Biomedical Microdevices and Pharmaceutical Research.

Peppas has been elected a Fellow of ACS, APS, AIChE, MRS, BMES, AIMBE, SFB, CRS, AAPS and AAAS.  He has been recognized with more than 120 national and international awards including several AIChE Awards (the Founders Award (2008), the William Walker Award (2006), the Institute Lectureship (2007), the Bioengineering Award (1992) and the Materials (1984) Award), the Pierre Galletti Award (2008) from AIMBE, the Distinguished Scientist Award (2010) from BMES, and the Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal (2010). In 2008, AIChE named Dr. Peppas as one of the “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era”.  Peppas is a leading educator in chemical and biomedical engineering and has supervised the research of about 190 graduate students and postdocs including the theses of 95 Ph.D. students, 40 of them current professors in Universities.

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  • Ramo Founders
  • 2012
  • For contributions to biomedical and drug delivery applications of polymer networks and hydrogels and for leadership in the bioengineering community