Robert S. Langer

Associate Faculty
Phone: (617) 253-3107
Website: Langer Lab
Lab Phone: (617) 258-5290
Lab Fax: (617) 258-8827
room: 76-661
MIT address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Administrative Assistant: Ilda Thompson
assistant phone: (617) 324-6068
assistant email: ifmoura@mit.edu

Robert S. Langer

Associate Faculty

title(s)

  • David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

bio

Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor (there are 13 Institute Professors at MIT; being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member). Dr. Langer has written over 1,300 articles. He also has nearly 1,100 issued and pending patents worldwide. Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. He is the most cited engineer in history.  He served as a member of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board, from 1995–2002 and as its Chairman from 1999–2002.

Dr. Langer has received over 220 major awards. He is one of 4 living individuals to have received both the United States National Medal of Science (2006) and the United States 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, and the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society. He is also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 2015, Dr. Langer received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the US for medical research, and the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.”

Forbes Magazine (1999) and Bio World (1990) named Dr. Langer as one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Discover Magazine (2002) named him as one of the 20 most important people in this area. Forbes Magazine (2002) selected Dr. Langer as one of the 15 innovators world wide who will reinvent our future. Time Magazine and CNN (2001) named Dr. Langer as one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America (America’s Best). Parade Magazine (2004) selected Dr. Langer 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 (Israel), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Willamette University, the University of Liverpool (England), Bates College, the University of Nottingham (England), Albany Medical College, Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, Uppsala University (Sweden), Tel Aviv University (Israel), Boston University, Ben Gurion University (Israel), Drexel University, Hanyang University (South Korea), University of New South Wales (Australia) and the University of California-San Francisco Medal.

degrees

  • ScD in Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1974
  • BS in Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 1970

selected awards/societies

  • Lemelson-MIT Prize, 1989
  • Inductee, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, 1989
  • National Academy of Engineering, 1992
  • National Academy of Sciences, 1992
  • Dickson Prize for Science, 2002
  • Charles Stark Draper Prize, 2002
  • Heinz Award for Technology, Economy, and Employment, 2003
  • Harvey Prize, 2003
  • John Fritz Award, 2003
  • General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research, 2004
  • Dan David Prize in Materials Science, 2005
  • Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical research, 2005
  • Inductee, National Inventors Hall of Fame, 2006
  • United States National Medal of Science, 2006
  • Max Planck Research Award, 2008
  • Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, 2008
  • Millennium Prize, 2008
  • United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 2011
  • Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, 2011
  • Terumo International Prize, 2012
  • National Academy of Inventors, 2012
  • Preistley Medal, 2012
  • Wolf Prize in Chemistry, 2013
  • Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2014
  • Kyoto Prize, 2014
  • Gairdner Foundation International Award
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, 2015

research

Our work is at the interface of biotechnology and materials science. A major focus is the study and development of polymers to deliver drugs, particularly genetically engineered proteins and DNA, continuously at controlled rates for prolonged periods of time. Our interest in drug delivery systems has extended to selective drug or substance removal systems that may circumvent toxicity. In addition, we are developing drugs that specifically inhibit the process of neovascularization that is critical to several disease processes without interfering with existing blood vessels. Finally, we have been involved in creating approaches to engineer new tissues. In particular, we are synthesizing new biodegradable polymer systems to be used in mammalian cell transplants to create liver, cartilage, and nerves, and are developing bioreactors for these purposes.

selected publications

  • O. Veiseh, B. Tang, K. Whitehead, D. Anderson, and R. Langer. “Managing diabetes with nanomedicine:  Challenges and opportunities.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 14 (2015): 45-57.
  • R. Langer and R. Weissleder. “Nanotechnology.” Journal of the American Medical Association 312 (2015):  135-36.
  • G. Traverso, C. Schoellhammer, A. Schroeder, R. Maa, G. Lauwers, B. Polat, D. Anderson, D. Blankschtein, and R. Langer. “Microneedles for drug delivery via the gastrointestinal tract.” Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 104 (2015):  362-67.
  • G. Traverso and R. Langer. “Perspective: Special delivery for the gut.” Nature 519 (2015): S19.
  • D. Chou, M. Webber, B. Tang, A. Lin, L. Thapa, D. Deng, J. Truong, A. Cortinas, R. Langer, and D. Anderson. “Glucose responsive insulin activity by covalent modification with aliphatic phenylboronic acid conjugates.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (2015): 2401-06.

A full list of Dr. Langer’s publications can be found on his website.