John Hickey

In the Schneck and Mao labs, I engineered several biomaterials, including magnetic particles and extracellular matrix hydrogels, to overcome some of the challenges facing T-cell immunotherapies. In the process, we revealed key biology of T-cells such as nanoscale receptor organization and mechanical and environmental influences of T-cell activation, while extending our capacity to use these cancer-specific T-cells as a therapy.

Questions & Answers

What contributed to your project’s success? 

Many, many people and organizations contributed to the success of my project. At the forefront are my two principal investigators: Jonathan Schneck and Hai-Quan Mao. They were instrumental in their confidence in me, openness to new ideas and collaborations, guidance and training, and providing a fertile lab environment. My projects were also able to be successful because of the support from students I mentored, the biomedical engineering program, and my wife.

What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Johns Hopkins?

It is fantastic that Hopkins celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of its trainees. It really speaks to their commitment to training and future success of their trainees.

What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?

One of my favorite moments was my public thesis defense. It was such a happy and emotional occasion where it was a forum I could share the culmination of all my greatest experiences, learning and research with my family, friends and colleagues.

What are your plans over the next year or so? Graduating, looking for faculty positions, etc.?

I will be going to Stanford to start a postdoctoral fellowship within the lab of Garry Nolan.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I love spending time with my wife and two sons: going on adventures in the forest, exploring museums, playing at the playground, making up superhero animal stories, reading books and telling stories.