Robert S. Langer

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For the Australian cricketer, see Rob Langer.
Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.
Robert Langer.jpg
Born (1948-08-29) August 29, 1948 (age 66)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Residence United States
Fields Biomedical Engineering
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater Cornell University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisor Clark K. Colton
Other academic advisors Judah Folkman
Notable students Kristi Anseth, David Edwards (engineer), Linda Griffith, Jeffrey Karp, Ali Khademhosseini, Cato Laurencin, Robert J. Linhardt, David J. Mooney, Molly Stevens, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, David Berry
Known for Controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering
Notable awards Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996)
Charles Stark Draper Prize(2002)
John Fritz Medal (2003)
Harvey Prize (2003)
Albany Medical Center Prize (2005)
National Medal of Science (2006)
Millennium Technology Prize (2008)
National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011)
Perkin Medal (2012)
Priestley Medal (2012)
Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2013)
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2014)
Kyoto Prize (2014)


External video
Robert Langer BioTech Awards Video laboratory.png
Robert Langer, You want to put yourself in the position where you'll make the discoveries for tomorrow, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr. (born August 29, 1948 in Albany, New York) is an American engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, inventor and the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] He was formerly the Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and maintains activity in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. He is also a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is a widely recognized and cited researcher in biotechnology, especially in the fields of drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. He has been cited over 151,000 times and has an h-index of 198 as of June 17, 2014.[2] Langer's research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining over $10 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers.[3] Langer is also currently on the board of directors at Bind Therapeutics and Advanced Cell Technology.[4]

Background and personal life[edit]

Langer was born August 29, 1948 in Albany, New York. He is an alumnus of The Milne School and received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University in chemical engineering. He earned his Sc.D. in chemical engineering from MIT in 1974. His dissertation was entitled "Enzymatic regeneration of ATP" and completed under the direction of Clark K. Colton. From 1974–1977 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow for cancer researcher Judah Folkman at the Children's Hospital Boston and at Harvard Medical School. Langer and his wife, Laura, a fellow MIT graduate, have three children.

Contributions to medicine and biotechnology[edit]

Langer is widely regarded for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology.[5] He is considered a pioneer of many new technologies, including controlled release systems and transdermal delivery systems, which allow the administration of drugs or extraction of analytes from the body through the skin without needles or other invasive methods.[6][7][8] Langer worked with Judah Folkman to isolate the first angiogenesis inhibitor, a macromolecule.[5][9] Macromolecules tend to be broken down by digestion and blocked by body tissues if they are injected or inhaled, so finding a delivery system for them is difficult. Langer's idea was to encapsulate the angiogenesis inhibitor in a noninflammatory synthetic polymer wafer that could be implanted in the tumor and control the release of the inhibitor. He eventually invented a polymer systems that would work. This discovery is considered to lay the foundation for much of todays drug delivery technology.[5][10] He also worked with Henry Brem of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School on a drug-delivery system for the treatment of brain cancer, to deliver chemotherapy directly to a tumor site. The wafers or chips that he and his teams have designed have become increasingly more sophisticated, and can now deliver multiple drugs, and respond to stimuli.[11]

Langer is regarded as the founder of tissue engineering in regenerative medicine.[12] He and the researchers in his lab have made advances in tissue engineering, such as the creation of engineered blood vessels and vascularized engineered muscle tissue.[13][14] Bioengineered synthetic polymers provide a scaffolding on which new skin, muscle, bone, and entire organs can be grown. With such a substrate in place, victims of serious accidents or birth defects could more easily grow missing tissue.[11][15] Such polymers can be biocompatible and biodegradable.[16]

Langer holds more than 1060 granted or pending patents.[1][17] He has also authored over 1,300 scientific papers and has participated in the founding of multiple technology companies.

Awards and honours[edit]

Langer is the youngest person in history (at 43) to be elected to all three American science academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. He was also elected as a charter member of National Academy of Inventors.[18]

Langer has received more than 220 major awards. He is one of seven individuals to have received both the U.S. National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.[19]

He has received numerous other awards, including the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996),[33] the Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention and innovation (1998),[34] the Othmer Gold Medal (2002),[35] the 10th Annual Heinz Award in the category of Technology, the Economy and Employment (2003),[36][37] the Harvey Prize in Science & Technology and Human Health (2003),[36] the Dan David Prize (2005)[38] and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005).[39] In 2013 he was awarded the IRI Medal alongside long-time friend George M. Whitesides for outstanding accomplishments in technological innovation that have contributed broadly to the development of industry and the benefit of society.[40][41] He also received the Rusnano prize that year.[42] He has also given 110 named lectures and commencement speeches.

Langer has honorary degrees from 22 universities from around the world: Northwestern University, Harvard University, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Yale University, the ETH, the Technion, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Willamette University, the University of Liverpool, the University of Nottingham, Albany Medical College, Pennsylvania State University, Uppsala University, Bates College, Boston University, Tel Aviv University(Israel), Ben Gurion University (Israel), Drexel University, University of Western Ontario Canada and the UCSF Medical Center.

Founder of various biotech companies[edit]

Robert Langer has been involved in the founding of many companies.[43]

  • Acusphere
  • AIR
  • Arsenal
  • BIND Therapeutics (formerly BIND Biosciences)
  • Blend Therapeutics
  • Echo Therapeutics (formerly Sontra Medical)
  • Enzytech (Acq. by Alkermes)
  • Gecko Biomedical[44]
  • InVivo Therapeutics
  • Kala
  • Living Proof[45]
  • Microchips
  • Moderna
  • Momenta
  • PixarBio[46]
  • Pervasis (acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals)[47]
  • Pulmatrix
  • Selecta Biosciences
  • Semprus Biosciences (acquired by Teleflex)[48]
  • Seventh Sense
  • SQZ Biotech[49]
  • Taris
  • Transform (acquired by Johnson and Johnson)[50]
  • T2

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hannah Seligson (November 24, 2012). "Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at M.I.T.". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-26. "A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Langer has helped start 25 companies and has 811 patents, issued or pending, to his name. ..." 
  2. ^ "Google Scholar: Robert Langer.". 
  3. ^ O'Neill, Kathryn M. (20 July 2006). "Colleagues honor Langer for 30 years of innovation". MIT News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Young, James (5 October 2011). "Scientific Luminary Dr. Robert Langer Joins ACT's Board of Directors". ACT (Advanced Cell Technology). Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Pearson, Helen (4 March 2009). "Profile: Being Bob Langer". Nature 458 (7234): 22–24. doi:10.1038/458022a. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Mitragotri, S; Blankschtein, D; Langer, R (1995). "Ultrasound-mediated transdermal protein delivery". Science 269 (5225): 850–3. doi:10.1126/science.7638603. PMID 7638603. 
  7. ^ Kost, J; Mitragotri, S; Gabbay, RA; Pishko, M; Langer, R (2000). "Transdermal monitoring of glucose and other analytes using ultrasound". Nature Medicine 6 (3): 347–50. doi:10.1038/73213. PMID 10700240. 
  8. ^ Langer, Robert; Folkman, Judah (October 1976). "Polymers for the sustained release of proteins and other macromolecules". Nature 263 (5580): 797–800. doi:10.1038/263797a0. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Cooke, Robert; Koop, C Everett (2001). Dr. Folkman's War: Angiogenesis and the Struggle to Defeat Cancer. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50244-6.
  10. ^ National Academy of Science report Beyond Discovery: Polymer and People 1999
  11. ^ a b "Robert S. Langer". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Schilling, David Russell (15 February 2013). "Langer Profile. Engineering Synthetic Skin". Industry Tap into News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Niklason, LE; Gao, J; Abbott, WM; Hirschi, KK; Houser, S; Marini, R; Langer, R (1999). "Functional arteries grown in vitro". Science 284 (5413): 489–93. doi:10.1126/science.284.5413.489. PMID 10205057. 
  14. ^ Levenberg, S; Rouwkema, J; MacDonald, M; Garfein, ES; Kohane, DS; Darland, DC; Marini, R; Van Blitterswijk, CA et al. (2005). "Engineering vascularized skeletal muscle tissue". Nature Biotechnology 23 (7): 879–84. doi:10.1038/nbt1109. PMID 15965465. 
  15. ^ Vacanti, Joseph P; Langer, Robert (July 1999). "Tissue engineering: the design and fabrication of living replacement devices for surgical reconstruction and transplantation". The Lancet 354: S32–S34. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(99)90247-7. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Freed, Lisa E.; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana; Biron, Robert J.; Eagles, Dana B.; Lesnoy, Daniel C.; Barlow, Sandra K.; Langer, Robert (July 1994). "Biodegradable Polymer Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering". Bio/Technology 12 (7): 689–693. doi:10.1038/nbt0794-689. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Langer Lab: Professor Robert Langer". MIT. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Lowry, Judy (8 January 8, 2013). "National Academy of Inventors congratulates NAI Fellows Robert Langer and Leroy Hood, and NAI Member James Wynne on receiving U.S. National Medals". USF Research News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Biotechnology Heritage Award, 2014 Winner: Robert Langer". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "MIT biomedical engineer Robert Langer wins $500,000 Kyoto Prize". 
  21. ^ "Laureates: 2014". Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. 
  22. ^ Kaufman, Melanie Miller. "Robert Langer wins 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences". MIT News. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Two MIT professors win prestigious Wolf Prize Michael Artin and Robert Langer honored for groundbreaking work in mathematics and chemistry.". MIT News. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Landergan, Katherine (4 January 2013). "M.I.T. professor to be honored by President Obama". MIT. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Robert Langer Named Priestley Medalist". Chemical & Engineering News 89 (24): 7. 2011. 
  26. ^ Gussman, Neil (23 May 2012). "Robert S. Langer, Biopolymer Innovator, Will Receive the 2012 SCI Perkin Medal". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "2011 recipients". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "And the winners were…". The Economist. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  29. ^ Lau, Thomas (11 June 2008). "2008 Millennium Technology Prize Awarded to Professor Robert Langer for Intelligent Drug Delivery". European Science Foundation. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  30. ^ "PRINCE OF ASTURIAS AWARD FOR TECHNICAL & SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 2008". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "Max Planck Research Award". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Robert S. Langer Receives 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize from National Academy of Engineering". Journal Of Investigative Medicine 50 (03): 159. 2002. doi:10.2310/6650.2002.33415. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  33. ^ "R.S. Langer to receive 1996 Gairdner Award". MIT News. 24 January 1996. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  34. ^ "Half Million Dollar Lemelson-MIT Prize Winner Announced". Lemelson-MIT. 15 April 1998. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "Past Winners of the Othmer Gold Medal". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "MIT's Langer wins two prestigious prizes". MIT News. 2 December 2003. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "Robert Langer". The Heinz Awards. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  38. ^ "Laureates 2005: Robert Langer". Dan David Prize. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  39. ^ McGarry, Greg (29 April 2005). "MIT Researcher and Albany Native Who Pioneered New Methods for Drug Delivery Named Recipient of America's Top Prize in Medicine". Albany Medical Center. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  40. ^ Wang, Linda (28 May 2013). "Industrial Research Institute Medal Awarded To Robert S. Langer And George M. Whitesides". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  41. ^ "IRI to recognize George Whitesides, Robert Langer with top award". R&D Magazine. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  42. ^ "Langer receives 2013 Rusnano prize". Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  43. ^ Huang, Gregory T. (19 April 2011). "The Bob Langer and Polaris Family Tree: From Acusphere to Momenta to Visterra". Xconomy. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  44. ^ Farrell, Michael B. (10 December 2013). "MIT’s Robert Langer has another startup". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  45. ^ Jones, Vanessa E. (2 April 2009). "Call him the frizz fighter". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  46. ^ "TEDxBigApple – Robert Langer Biomaterials for the 21st Century". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  47. ^ "Shire picks up Pervasis in potential $200M deal". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  48. ^ "Semprus BioSciences Acquired by Teleflex for Up To $80M in Cash, Milestones". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  49. ^ "SQZ Biotech - Board of Directors". Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  50. ^ "Johnson & Johnson Completes Acquisition of TransForm Pharmaceuticals, Inc.". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Shuji Nakamura
Millennium Technology Prize winner
2008 (for Innovative biomaterials)
Succeeded by
Michael Grätzel