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Robert S. Langer is the David H. Kock Institute Professor at MIT. He served as a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board, from 1995 to 2002 and as its chairman from 1999 to 2002.
Dr Langer has received over 220 major awards. He is one of four living individuals to have received both the US National Medal of Science (2006) and National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011). He also received the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers; the 2008 Millennium Prize, the world’s largest technology prize; the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society; and the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and the 2014 Kyoto Prize. He is the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 82 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. In 2015 he received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Among numerous other awards Dr. Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002), the Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003), the Harvey Prize (2003), the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004), the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the US for medical research, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008), the University of California–San Francisco Medal (2009), the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2011), and the Terumo International Prize (2012). In 1998 he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.
Forbes Magazine (1999) and BioWorld (1990) have named Dr. Langer one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Discover Magazine (2002) named him one of the 20 most important people in this area, and Forbes Magazine (2002) selected him as one of the 15 innovators worldwide who will reinvent our future. Time Magazine and CNN (2001) named him one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America. Parade Magazine (2004) selected him as one of 6 “heroes whose research may save your life.”
Dr. Langer has received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, the Mt Sinai School of Medicine, Yale University, University of Western Ontario (Canada), the ETH (Switzerland), the Technion, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Willamette University, the University of Liverpool (UK), Bates College, the University of Nottingham (UK), Albany Medical College, Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, Uppsala University (Sweden), Tel Aviv University, Boston University, Ben Gurion University, Drexel University, Hanyang University (South Korea), and University of New South Wales (Australia). He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his ScD from MIT in 1974, both in chemical engineering.
Dr Langer has written over 1,300 articles and has over 1,080 patents worldwide. His patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. He is the most cited engineer in history (h-index 213).