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Robert Langer

For the Australian cricketer, see Rob Langer.
Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.
Born (1948-08-29) August 29, 1948 (age 65)
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, V. Prasad Shastri
Known for Controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering
Notable awards Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996), Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2013)

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr. (born August 29, 1948 in Albany, New York) is an American engineer 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. According to Web of Science he has been cited nearly 90,000 times and has an h-index of 147 as of May 1, 2013. Langer's research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining about $10 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers.[2] Langer is also currently on the board of directors at Advanced Cell Technology.[3]

Background and personal life

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

Langer is widely regarded for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology.[4] 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.[5][6][7] He and the researchers in his lab have also made advances in tissue engineering, such as the creation of engineered blood vessels and vascularized engineered muscle tissue.[8][9]

Langer holds more than 800 granted or pending patents.[1][10] He has also authored over 1,200 scientific papers and has participated in the founding of multiple technology companies, including through Puretech Ventures, where he is the head of the scientific board.[11]


He has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation[15] the 10th Annual Heinz Award in the category of Technology, the Economy and Employment,[16] the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the Lemelson-MIT Prize, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research and the Millennium Technology Prize in 2008. He was awarded the 2012 Priestley Medal.[17] In 2013 he was awarded the IRI Medal alongside long-time friend George M. Whitesides. Langer is also 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.

Langer has honorary degrees from 20 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) and the UCSF Medical Center.

Founder of various biotech companies


  • Acusphere
  • AIR
  • Arsenal
  • BIND Biosciences
  • Blend Therapeutics
  • Enzytech (Acq. by Alkermes)
  • InVivo Therapeutics
  • Kala
  • Living Proof[19]
  • Microchips
  • Moderna
  • Momenta
  • Pervasis
  • Pulmatrix
  • Selecta Biosciences
  • Seventh Sense
  • Sontra Medical
  • Taris
  • Transform
  • T2


External links

  • Langer Lab: Professor Robert Langer
  • Dan David Prize Laureate 2005
  • Robert S. Langer fact sheet at MIT News Office
  • BBC News
  • The Bob Langer and Polaris Company Tree From Acusphere to Momenta to Visterra
  • Controlled Release Technology 5-day short course at MIT with Professor Robert Langer.
  • Robert Langer: Exchanges at the frontier - ABC Radio National podcast
Preceded by
Shuji Nakamura
Millennium Technology Prize winner
2008 (for Innovative biomaterials)
Succeeded by
Michael Grätzel

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