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About the PI: 


Jake Brenner, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor & Attending Physician

Dept of Medicine

Pharmacology Dept

University of Pennsylvania

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I am a bioengineer and critical care physician with a passion for engineering new technologies in nanomedicine and targeted drug delivery. I previously invented three medical devices which made it to clinical trials, with one gaining FDA approval and having become first-line treatment in multiple national algorithms.  Additionally, I have invented multiple nanomedicine / targeted drug delivery technologies, with one acquired by a pharmaceutical company for further development of in conjunction with my lab.  

After an MD and PhD in at Stanford's MSTP and Chemical & Systems Biology Department (developing high-throughput drug screening tools), I started in nanomedicine in 2014 when I did my postdoc in Vlad Muzykantov’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), which has for 30 years been a leading lab in targeted drug delivery to the lung.  In Vlad’s lab, I began by developing nanocarriers for treating ARDS, which was awarded the American Thoracic Society’s top technology prize, the ATS BEAR-Cage award.   

In July 2018, I became a tenure-track assistant professor at Penn and I started my lab there.  I spend 20% of my time taking care of patients in the ICU and the other 80% developing medical technologies.  I feel very fortunate to have a job that I love so much.  In the ICU, I love the excitement of emergencies and the challenging physiology problems we encounter hourly.  In our nanomedicine lab, I love mentoring trainees and helping them develop new ideas for such a good cause.  I also love teaching medical technology entrepreneurship at Penn, which I do through my role at Penn Health-Tech.   Finally, I love working with industry, with joint projects with multiple companies, which is productive and educational for me and all our trainees.

I enjoy working with trainees from diverse backgrounds, with diversity in scientific and cultural backgrounds.  I take graduate students from many departments, and I am currently in the Penn graduate groups for Bioengineering, Pharmacology, and Cell & Molecular Biology.  Additionally, I'm on the admissions committee of the Penn MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program) and a participating faculty member of Penn's PASS program, which helps recruit and train undergraduate under-represented minorities, preparing them for careers as physician-scientists.

Outside of work, my passions are:  playing with my daughters, listening to tons of audiobooks (~1 book / week), and stand-up comedy (I used to do it as an amateur, and vow to restart it once my daughters are old enough to not want to hang out with me anymore ;)


  • Fellowship, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (July 2012 – June 2016).  Board-certified in Pulmonology 11/2014, Critical Care 11/2015.

  • Internal Medicine Residency, Stanford University (July 2010 - June 2012). Board-certified in Internal Medicine 11/2013.

  • MD,  Stanford University   Medical Scientist Training Program (2010)     

  • PhD,  Stanford University  Chemical & Systems Biology (2007)

  • BA,  Princeton University  Molecular Biology, Summa Cum Laude (2001)                     


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