John P. Wikswo, Jr., Ph.D.


John P. Wikswo

John Wikswo is the Gordon A. Cain University Professor at Vanderbilt University and is the founding director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education. He has been on the Vanderbilt faculty since 1977. His research has included superconducting magnetometry; the measurement and modeling of cardiac, neural and gastric electric and magnetic fields; and non-destructive testing of aging aircraft. In 1980, he and his group made the final measurement of the magnetic field of a nerve impulse.

As a tenured member of the departments of biomedical engineering, molecular physiology and biophysics, and physics and astronomy, Dr. Wikswo is guiding the development of microfabricated devices, optical instruments and software for studying how living cells interact with each other and their environment and respond to drugs, chemical/biological agents and other toxins, thereby providing insights into systems biology, physiology, medicine and toxicology.

He has over 200 publications, is a fellow of seven professional societies and has received 22 patents. He loves teaching and learning, and sharing his enthusiasm for research and inventing with high-school students, undergraduates and graduate students. He is happiest when he is tinkering and doing plumbing, carpentry and wiring, either on his house or the ones that he and his group are building to grow cells and miniature human organs. His group’s work on organ-on-chips focuses on the development of intelligent well plates that serve as perfusion controllers, microclinical analyzers and microformulators; developing a blood-brain barrier on a chip; and integrating multiple organs to create a milli-homunculus from coupled organs on chips.

Dr. Wikswo trained as a physicist, and he received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Virginia and his doctor of philosophy degree from Stanford University.