DoctorsJohn J. Whalen, PhD

John J. Whalen, PhD

John J. Whalen, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Clinical Specialty: Degenerative Neurological DiseasesOphthalmological Disorders   

Research Topics:

Retinal Prostheses
Neural Prostheses
Electrode Technology
Visual Evoked Responses
Implantable Electrical Systems

Biography and Education

Research Interests:

John J. Whalen, PhD, is a materials scientist and biomedical engineer with interest in applied research to develop novel materials technologies to address ocular and neurologic disorders. Currently his efforts are focused in three areas: 1) novel materials coatings for enhanced neurostimulation and sensing, 2) novel polymeric adhesive materials for addressing ocular trauma, and 3) non-drug based antibacterial thin films for preventing ocular infections and nosocomial infections.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Whalen served as an industry liaison for USC’s NSF-sponsored Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems (BMES) Engineering Research Center for four years, helping to bridge new biomedical research discoveries with industry through translational development programs. Before his role at BMES, Dr. Whalen was part of the early stage management team at Aspire Bariatrics, Inc., that advanced a Class-III implant device from prototype through US safety and feasibility studies and eventual European market approval in an accelerated, six-year time period.


  • Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), BS, 1994-1998
  • Materials Science and Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), MS, 1998-2000
  • Materials Science and Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), PhD, 2000-2004
  • Ophthalmology and Bioelectronics, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA), Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006



  • Washington D.C. Chapter ARCS Award Fellow, 2001, 2003
  • NAEVR Emerging Vision Scientist Award, 2015


  1. Bayat N, Zhang Y, Falabella P, Menefee R, Whalen JJ, 3rd, Humayun MS, Thompson ME. A Reversible Thermoresponsive Sealant for Temporary Closure of Ocular Trauma. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Dec;9(419).
  2. Xu L, Gutbrod SR, Ma Y, Petrossians A, Liu Y, Webb RC, et al. Materials and fractal designs for 3D multifunctional integumentary membranes with capabilities in cardiac electrotherapy. Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla). 2015;27(10):1731-7. Epub 2015/02/03. doi: 10.1002/adma.201405017. PubMed PMID: 25641076; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc4527319.
  3. Zhang Y, Falabella P, Bayat N, Rauen S, Weiland JD, Whalen JJ, et al. Thermoresponsive Reversible Adhesive for Temporary Intervention in Ocular Trauma. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2014;55(13):2353-.
  4. Petrossians A, Davuluri N, Whalen JJ, Mansfeld F, Weiland JD, editors. Improved Biphasic Pulsing Power Efficiency with Pt-Ir Coated Microelectrodes. MRS Proceedings; 2014: Cambridge Univ Press.
  5. Petrossians A, Whalen JJ, Weiland JD, Mansfeld F. Electrodeposition of platinum-iridium alloy nanowires for hermetic packaging of microelectronics. Conference proceedings : Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Conference. 2012;2012:727-30. Epub 2013/02/01. doi: 10.1109/embc.2012.6346034. PubMed PMID: 23365995.
  6. Petrossians A, Whalen JJ, 3rd, Weiland JD, Mansfeld F. Surface modification of neural stimulating/recording electrodes with high surface area platinum-iridium alloy coatings. Conference proceedings : Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Conference. 2011;2011:3001-4. Epub 2012/01/19. doi: 10.1109/iembs.2011.6090823. PubMed PMID: 22254972.
  7. Ahuja AK, Behrend MR, Whalen JJ, Humayun MS, Weiland JD. The dependence of spectral impedance on disc microelectrode radius. IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering. 2008;55(4):1457-60. Epub 2008/04/09. doi: 10.1109/tbme.2007.912430. PubMed PMID: 18390340; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPmc3345187.
  8. Whalen JJ, Young J, Weiland JD, Searson PC. Electrochemical characterization of charge injection at electrodeposited platinum electrodes in phosphate buffered saline. Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 2006;153(12):C834-C9.
  9. Whalen JJ, Weiland JD, Searson PC. Electrochemical deposition of platinum from aqueous ammonium hexachloroplatinate solution. Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 2005;152(11):C738-C43.
  10. Lindgen E, Poret J, Whalen JJ, Rosen M, Wun-Fogle M, Restorff J, et al., editors. Development of High Frequency Terfenol-D Transducer Material. MRS Proceedings; 1999: Cambridge Univ Press.
  11. Cofrancesco J, Jr., Whalen JJ, 3rd, Dobs AS. Testosterone replacement treatment options for HIV-infected men. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes and human retrovirology : official publication of the International Retrovirology Association. 1997;16(4):254-65. Epub 1997/12/24. PubMed PMID: 9402072.