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John N. Vournakis, Ph.D.​

John N. Vournakis is the Vice President for Research and Development at Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc., located in Burlington, MA. He also holds the position of the Professor of Graduate Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC where he has been Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Molecular & Structural Biology since 1995. He previously served on the faculty of Dartmouth College, as a Professor of Biology between 1984-95 and as a Professor of Biology at Syracuse University between 1973-84. Dr. Vournakis received a Ph.D. degree from the Cornell University Department of Chemistry in Physical Biochemistry in 1968. He trained as a post-doctoral and research associate at MIT and Harvard Universities in the fields of molecular biology and genetics between 1969-73.


Dr. Vournakis is known for his early work on the physical chemistry of RNA structure, and on the mechanism of drug-DNA interactions. He joined Dartmouth College as a Professor of Biology in 1984, where he founded the Molecular Genetics Center at Dartmouth, after 12 years on the Faculty of Syracuse University. During the period 1985-1992, he assisted the Industrial Division of the Bristol-Myers Company to establish its genetic engineering group. He then served as Vice President of Science and Corporate Officer at Verax Corporation, a pharmaceutical protein bio-processing company, and later served as the Senior Vice President, interim CEO and Corporate Officer at Genmap, Inc., an early genomics company. He is a co-founder of Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc., which has been in existence since 1992.

Dr. Vournakis has published more than 150 scholarly works, is a regular reviewer of grant applications for federal agencies, and has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He is an inventor on 24 issued US and foreign patents. Dr. Vournakis has expertise in polymer science, and in the development and large-scale production of biopolymers for use in biomedical devices, particularly for applications in hemostasis and drug delivery. His current research, focused on the development of medical products from marine polysaccharides, has resulted in several FDA and CE cleared products for the treatment of bleeding, and is the basis for the development of a drug delivery system for the treatment of cancer.


Dr. Vournakis has been a Science Advisor to and Director of several biotechnology companies. He has lectured on the biotechnology industry in numerous venues including the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the Medical University of South Carolina's Bio-Entrepreneur Program.