2021 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education Awarded to MIT Educators


Thu, January 07, 2021

Washington, D.C., January 07, 2021 —

The National Academy of Engineering announced today that the 2021 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education will be awarded to Linda Griffith and Douglas Lauffenburger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “for the establishment of a new biology-based engineering education, producing a new generation of leaders capable of addressing world problems with innovative biological technologies.” The $500,000 annual award recognizes new methods and concepts in education aimed at developing effective engineering leaders.

 “The NAE is honored to recognize Linda Griffith and Douglas Lauffenburger for their significant contributions to MIT’s biological engineering program,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “The comprehensive curriculum developed by these two educators has defined this field for the next generation and will continue to lead in years to come.”

Linda Griffith is the School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering and MacVicar Fellow at MIT, where she directs the Center for Gynepathology Research. She led development of the MIT Biological Engineering SB degree program, which was approved in 2005 as MIT’s first new undergraduate major in 39 years.

Griffith has pioneered approaches in tissue engineering, including the first tissue-engineered cartilage in the shape of a human ear, commercialization of the 3DP™ printing process for manufacture of FDA-approved scaffolds, commercialization of the 3D perfused LiverChip for drug development, and synthetic matrices for tissue morphogenesis. She recently led one of two major DARPA-supported “body-on-a-chip” programs, resulting in the first platform to culture 10 different human mini-organ systems interacting continuously for a month.

Griffith has over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds more than a dozen patents. She is a member of the NAE and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Radcliffe Fellowship, and several awards from professional societies.

Douglas Lauffenburger is the Ford Professor of Bioengineering in the departments of biological engineering, chemical engineering, and biology at MIT. He was the founding head of the department of biological engineering and served in that capacity from 1998 until 2019. He also holds affiliations with the Center for Biomedical Engineering, Center for Gynepathology Research, and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, as well as the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard.

A central focus of the Lauffenburger research program is systems biology approaches to cell-cell communication and cell signaling important in pathophysiology, with emphasis on translational application to therapeutics discovery and development in cancer, pathogen infection, and inflammatory disease.

He has served as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, chair of the College of Fellows of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a member of the advisory council for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Lauffenburger is a member of the NAE and American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science and the American Scientific Affiliation.

The Gordon Prize was established in 2001 as a biennial prize acknowledging new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. Recognizing the potential to spur a revolution in engineering education, NAE announced in 2003 that the prize would be awarded annually.

The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.

Deborah M. Young
Contact Deborah M. Young
Program Officer, Awards Program
National Academy of Engineering
NAE Awards Gordon Prize