Linda G. Griffith (born Aug 30, 1960 in Atlanta, GA and raised in Decatur, Valdosta, and Roswell, GA) is an American biological engineer, and Professor of Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also directs the Center for Gynepathology Research. She is a 2006 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly referred to as the "MacArthur genius award."
She graduated with a B.ChE in 1982 from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was a writer and editor on the undergraduate newspaper, the Technique, in 1982, and was named a distinguished alumna of her alma mater’s School of Engineering in 2006. She received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. She joined the MIT faculty in 1991, was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1996, and to tenure in Chemical Engineering in 1998, the same year she joined the newly formed Division of Biological Engineering and Environmental Health at MIT. As an assistant professor, she joined a collaboration with Dr. Charles Vacanti and Dr. Joseph Upton to create tissue engineered cartilage in the shape of a human ear (published under the surname used in her first marriage), known as the Vacanti mouse. The Griffith Lab at MIT currently focuses on molecular biomaterials and tissue engineering approaches for regenerative medicine, drug development and understanding disease pathophysiology.
In 1994, together with colleagues Roger Kamm and Alan Grodzinsky, she led development of MIT’s first interdepartmental minor degree, in biomedical engineering, which was launched in 1995 and soon became MIT’s most popular minor degree. The interdepartmental bioengineering curriculum committee she chaired grew into the Undergraduate Programs Committee for the Department of Biological Engineering, and as chair of this committee she led development of the undergraduate major in Biological Engineering, launched in 2005 as MIT’s first new undergraduate major in 39 years. She stepped down as chair of this committee in 2009 to spend a fellowship year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, sponsored by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She currently holds the School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Chair in recognition of her contributions to curriculum development at MIT. She is married to Doug Lauffenburger, also a professor at MIT.
Women’s Health Research
Griffith currently directs the Center for Gynepathology Research (CGR) at MIT, which she launched in 2009 together with Dr. Keith Isaacson, Director of the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecology Surgery. The public launch featured a passionate talk by the celebrity host of Bravo's Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi, who suffered for over a decade with endometriosis before being diagnosed. Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) to raise awareness of the disease, especially among college students. Lakshmi’s experience underscored that of Griffith’s own 16-year-old niece, who was diagnosed with endometriosis after suffering years of debilitating pain, which had been attributed to “stress” instead of to a treatable disease. The average delay between onset of symptoms and diagnosis of endometriosis is about ten years; Griffith’s niece was diagnosed with less delay only because a family member with the disease insisted she see a gynecological surgeon who specializes in treating endometriosis. The CGR now has over 10 participating faculty at MIT and collaborates with surgeons and scientists in Brazil, Singapore, and across the US. Griffith was honored at the EFA’s annual Blossom Ball in NYC in 2010 for her efforts to raise awareness about endometriosis among scientists and engineers.
- 1977 Georgia Governor's Honors Program (English)
- 1991 National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award
- 1998 Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers
- 1999 MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award
- 2002 Popular Science Brilliant 10
- 2006 MacArthur Fellows Program
- 2009 Clemson Award for Basic Research, Society of Biomaterials
- 2010 1st Ruth Kirschstein Memorial Lecture, NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health
- 2010 Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society
- 2011 Member, National Academy of Engineering
- "Linda G. Griffith". The Griffith Lab. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
- Vacanti, C.A., Cima (Griffith), L.G. , Rodkowski, D., and Upton, J., "Tissue engineering of new cartilage in the shape of a human ear using specially configured polymers seeded with chondrocytes," MRS Proceedings, vol. 252 (1992).
- Padma Lakshmi
- List of Georgia Governor's Honors Program alumni