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Dr. Robert Langer is the Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, within the department of Chemical Engineering, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.) Credited with developing biocompatible polymer technologies that control the release of medicine over time (from weeks to years), his contributions have significantly advanced the controlled drug delivery industry, a $20 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone.
Considered to be both a prolific innovator and researcher, Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 80 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical device companies; a number of companies were launched on the basis of these patent licenses. He nurtures his students into taking their thesis work to the marketplace, therefore making him an example of the role academic research engineers can play in bridging academe and industry.
A devotee to research, Dr. Langer has written 700 articles and 430 abstracts. He has also written 400 patents, one of which was cited as the outstanding patent in Massachusetts in 1988 and one of 20 outstanding patents in the United States.
Dr. Langer has received more than 80 major awards and is the only engineer to receive the 1996 Gairdner Foundation International Award (56 of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize,) and he received the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 1998. In 1989, Dr. Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences.
Both Forbes and BioWorld magazines have named Dr. Langer one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Time magazine named him one of 18 most important individuals in science and medicine in the U.S. and one of the 100 most important people in America (American’s Best). He has served, at various times, on eight boards of directors and 20 scientific advisory boards of such companies as Alkermes, Mitsubishi Pharmaceuticals, Warner-Lambert, and Guilford Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Robert Langer received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his doctorate from MIT in 1974, both in chemical engineering. Dr. Langer has received honorary doctorates from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), Switzerland, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, and the Universite Catholique do Louvain, Belgium. He is the chairman of the United States Food and Drug Administration's (FDA’s) SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board. He lives in Newton, Mass., with his wife Laura.