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  • Ph.D. — M.I.T.
  • M.S. — Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A. — Pennsylvania State University


  • Professor, Chemistry, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Co-Founder of Hesperos, the human-on-a-chip company


Research Areas

Establish self-assembled monolayers as a tool for creating compatible biological/non-biological interfaces; integration of biological and neuronal-based systems with MEMS devices, primarily microelectronic devices. Utilization of human-on-a-chip systems for preclinical drug discovery, toxicology investigations and artificial intelligence research.

Research interest of the Hybrid Systems Lab

Dr. Hickman published the first serum-free, defined culture system for neuronal systems and extended this from rat to mouse, both embryonic and adult, as well as to human. These defined in vitro systems have now been extended to cardiac, muscle, endothelial, hepatocyte, cancer, kidney and epithelial cells as well as multiple combinations of different cell types. He has 165 publications and 20 book chapters, in addition to 32 issued patents out of 49 total patent applications. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineers (2004), the American Vacuum Society (2007) International Academy of Nanobiotechnology (2019) and the National Academy of Inventors (2020). He was awarded the BioFlorida Researcher of the Year in 2022.

Hickman Hybrid Systems Lab

Engineering the interface between biological and non-biological systems to construct next-generation systems for toxicology, drug discovery, and basic biology research.

Current Funding

  • NIH: Investigating the role of Alzheimers disease familial mutations in neuromuscular physiology. 05/15/2022 – 04/30/2027
  • NIH: Modulatory Role of Blood-Brain-Barrier and Enzymatic Activity in an Innovative Human Model of Cholinergic Drug Induced Dementia. 08/15/2021 – 07/31/2023
  • Hesperos, Inc/NIH: Biodistribution and PK modeling of rat vs. human systems. 3/1/2021 – 2/28/2023
  • NIH: Multi-organ human-on-a-chip system to address overdose and acute and chronic efficacy and off-target toxicity. 9/27/2019 – 7/31/2024
  • NIH: Human on a chip systems to investigate disease comorbidities common in the aged population. 4/01/2018 – 04/30/2023
  • Hesperos, Inc/NIH: Automation and validation of human on a chip systems for drug discovery. 09/4/2016 – 08/31/2022
  • Hesperos, Inc/NIH: Functional integrated human-on-a-chip systems for Alzheimer’s research. 9/15/2017 – 10/31/2022
  • Hesperos, Inc/NIH: Human on a chip system to investigate genetic risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease. 9/01/2018 – 5/31/2022
  • Hesperos, Inc/NIH: Development of an integrated 4-organ animal model. 09/17/2018 – 08/31/2022

Patents & Publications

Number of publications: 164
Number of patents: 31
Book chapters: 20



S.A. Najjar, A.S.T. Smith, C.J. Long, C.W. McAleer, Y. Cai, B. Srinivasan, C. Martin, H.H. Vandenburgh, andJ.J. Hickman, “A Multiplexed In Vitro Assay System for Evaluating Human Skeletal Muscle Functionality in Response to Drug Treatment,” Biotechnol. Bioeng. 117(3):736-747 (2020) DOI: 10.1002/bit.27231.A. Colón, A. Badu-Mensah, X. Guo, A. Goswami andJ.J. Hickman, “Differentiation of intrafusal fibers from human induced pluripotent stem cells,” ACS Chem. Neurosci. 11(7): 1085-1092 (2020).C.P. Pires de Mello, C. Carmona-Moran, C. McAleer, J. Perez, E.A. Coln, C. Oleaga, A. Riu, R. Note, S. Teissier, J. Langer andJ.J. Hickman, “Microphysiological heart-liver body-on-a-chip system with skin mimic for evaluating topical drug delivery,” Lab Chip 20:749-759 (2020).T. Sasserath, J. W. Rumsey, C. W. McAleer, L. R. Bridges, C. J. Long, D. Elbrecht, F. Schuler, A. Roth, C. Bertinetti-LaPatki, M. L. Shuler, J. J. Hickman, “Differential Monocyte Actuation in a Three-Organ Functional Innate Immune System-on-a-Chip,” Adv. Sci. 7:2000323 (2020). Caneus, N. Akanda, J.W. Rumsey, X. Guo, M. Jackson, C.J. Long, F. Sommerhage, S. Georgieva, N. Kanaan, D. Morgan andJ.J. Hickman, “A human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neuron human-on-a chip system to study Aβ42 and Tau-induced pathophysiological effects on long-term potentiation,” Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions 6(1): e12029 (2020) DOI: 10.1002/trc2.12029.M.T. Schnepper, J. Roles andJ.J. Hickman, “Characterization of drug-polymer adsorption isotherms in body-on-a-chip systems by inverse liquid-solid chromatography,” ACS Biomaterials Sci Eng, 6:4462-4475 (2020) doi = 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c00350.A. Patel, J.W. Rumsey, C. Lorance, C.J. Long, B. Lee, L. Tetard, S. Lambert andJ.J. Hickman, “Myelination and node of Ranvier formation in a human motoneuron – schwann cell serum-free co-culture,” ACS Chem Neurosci 11:2615-2623 (2020) doi =10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00287.X. Guo, V. Smith, M. Jackson, M. Tran, M. Thomas, A. Patel, E. Lorusso, S. Nimbalkar, Y. Cai, C.W. McAleer, Y. Wang, C.J. Long andJ.J. Hickman, “A human-based functional NMJ system for personalized ALS modeling and drug testing,” Adv. Therapeutics 3(11):2000133 (1-17) (2020) DOI: 10.1002/adtp.202000133.X. Guo, A. Badu-Mensah, M.C. Thomas, C.W. McAleer,J.J. Hickman, “Characterization of Functional Human Skeletal Myotubes and Neuromuscular Junction Derived-from the Same Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Source,” Bioengineering, 7(4):133 (2020).M.T. Schnepper, J. Roles andJ.J. Hickman, “Inverse liquid solid chromatography to evaluate drug interactions with organosilane modified polydimethylsiloxane for use in body-on-a-chip systems,” Biotechnol Prog, 2020:e3048 DOI: 10.1002/btpr.3048 (2020).


C. Oleaga, V. Platt, L.R. Bridges, K. Persaud, C. McAleer, C. Long andJ.J. Hickman, “A functional long-term 2D serum-free human hepatic in vitro system for drug evaluation,” Biotechnol Prog, 37:e3069 DOI: (2021).A. Badu-Mensah, X. Guo,C. McAleer, J. Rumsey,J.J. Hickman, “Functional Skeletal Muscle Model Derived from SOD1-mutant ALS Patient iPSCs Recapitulates Hallmarks of Disease Progression,” Sci. Rep. 10:14302 (2020).H. Wang, P.C. Brown, E.C.Y. Chow, L. Ewart, S.S. Ferguson, S. Fitzpatrick, B.S. Freedman, G. Guo, W. Hedrich, S. Heyward, J. Hickman, N. Isoherranen, A.P. Li, Q. Liu, S.M. Mumenthaler, J. Polli, W.R. Proctor, A.P. Ribeiro, J.-Y. Wang, and R.L. Wange and S.-M. Huang, “3D Cell Culture Models: Drug Pharmacokinetics, Safety Assessment, and Regulatory Consideration” Clinical and Translational Science 14(5): 1659-1680 (2021). DOI: (2021).V.L. Slaughter, J.W. Rumsey, R. Boone, D. Malik, Y. Cai, N.N. Sriram, C.J. Long, C.W. McAleer, S. Lambert, M.L. Shuler andJ.J. Hickman, “Validation of an adipose‑liver human‑on‑a‑chip model of NAFLD for preclinical therapeutic efficacy evaluation,” Nature Scientific Reports, 11:13159 (2021).A. Badu-Mensah, X. Guo andJ.J. Hickman, “ALS Skeletal Muscle: Victim or Culprit,” The Neuroscience Chronicles 2(2):31-33 (2021).V.M. Smith, H. Nyguen, J.W. Rumsey, C.J. Long, M.L. Shuler andJ.J. Hickman, “A Functional Human-on-a-Chip Autoimmune Disease Model of Myasthenia Gravis for Development of Therapeutics,” Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, section Stem Cell Research, 9:745897, (2021) doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.745897.


K. Autar, X. Guo, J.W. Rumsey, C. Long, N. Akanda, M. Jackson, N.S. Narasimhan, J. Caneus, D. Morgan, J.J. Hickman, “A functional hiPSC-cortical neuron differentiation and maturation model and its application to neurological disorders,” Stem Cell Reports 17:96-109 (2022).J.W. Rumsey, C. Lorance, M. Jackson, T. Sasserath, C.W. McAleer, C.J. Long, A. Goswami, M.A. Russo, S.M. Raja, K.L. Gable, D. Emmett, L.D. Hobson-Webb, M. Chopra, J.F. Howard, Jr., J.T. Guptill, M.J. Storek, M. Alonso-Alonso, N. Atassi, S. Panicker, G. Parry, T. Hammond,J.J. Hickman, “Classical Complement Pathway Inhibition in a ‘Human-on-a-Chip’ Model of Autoimmune Demyelinating Neuropathies,” Advanced Therapeutics 2022:2200030 (2022). DOI: 10.1002/adtp.202200030T. Sasserath, A.L. Robertson, R. Mendez, T.T. Hays, E. Smith, H. Cooper, N. Akanda, J.W. Rumsey, X. Guo, M. Might, S. Rodems, K. Baumgaertel, M. Pradhan, W. Zheng, A. Farkhondeh andJ.J. Hickman, “An induced pluripotent stem cell-derived NMJ platform for study of the NGLY1-Congenital Disorder of Deglycosylation,” Advanced Therapeutics, 2022: 2200009 (1-17) (2022). DOI: 10.1002/adtp.202200009A. Badu-Mensah, X. Guo, S. Nimbalkar, Y. Cai,J.J. Hickman. “ALS Mutations in Both Human Skeletal Muscle and Motoneurons Differentially Affects Neuromuscular Junction Integrity and Function,” Biomaterials, 289:121752 (2022). DOI: Badu-Mensah P. Valinski, H. Parsaud,J.J. Hickman, X. Guo. “Hyperglycemia Negatively Affects IPSC-Derived Myoblast Proliferation and Skeletal Muscle Regeneration and Function,” Cells, 11:3674 (2022). DOI: 10.3390/cells11223674X. Guo, N. Akanda, G. Fiorino, S. Nimbalkar, C.J. Long, A. Colon, A. Patel, P.J. Tighe,J.J. Hickman. “Human IPSC-derived preBötC neurons and development of opiate overdose and recovery model,” (submitted to Nature Communications Biology, 2022).M.J. Rupar, T. Sasserath, E. Smith, B. Comiter, N. Sriram, C.J. Long, C.W. McAleer,J.J. Hickman, “Development of a Human Malaria-on-a-Chip Disease Model for Drug Efficacy and Off-Target Toxicity Evaluation,” (submitted to Scientific Reports, 2022).


S. Nimbalkar, X. Guo, A. Colón, M. Jackson, N. Akanda, A. Patel, M. Grillo andJ.J. Hickman, “Development of a functional human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived nociceptor MEA system as a pain model for analgesic drug testing”, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology-Stem Cell Research, accepted (2023).