Elazer Edelman
Core Faculty


Dr. Elazer Edelman, is the Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a coronary care unit cardiologist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He and his laboratory have pioneered basic findings in vascular biology and the development and assessment of biotechnology. Dr. Edelman directs the Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center (BMEC), dedicated to applying the rigors of the physical sciences to elucidate fundamental biologic processes and mechanisms of disease. BMEC programs span a wide range of disciplines, with its resources made available to investigators from MIT and Harvard.

Dr. Edelman received Bachelor of Science degrees in Bioelectrical Engineering and in Applied Biology from MIT in 1978, a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from MIT in 1979, a degree in medicine from Harvard Medical School in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from MIT in 1984. His graduate thesis work, under the direction of Prof. Robert Langer, defined the mathematics of regulated and controlled drug delivery systems. After internal medicine training and clinical fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at the BWH he spent six years as a research fellow in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School with Prof. Morris J. Karnovsky working on the biology of vascular repair.

Edelman holds a diploma from, and is a fellow of, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. As Chief Scientific Advisor of Science: Translational Medicine he has set the tone for the national debate on translational research and innovation. As an avid ice hockey goalie Dr. Edelman's most recent accomplishment involves passing three levels of coaching licensure from the Massachusetts Youth Hockey league and coaching the Brookline Bantam B team.

Research Interests: 

Dr. Edelman's research melds his clinical and medical training and interests, focusing on understanding how tissue architecture and biochemical regulation contribute to local growth control. Edelman and his students were among the first to validate the hypothesis that proliferative vascular diseases are the sum of effects from endogenous growth promoters and suppressors. Their characterization of how heparin-like compounds serve as suppressors and heparin-binding growth factors as promoters contributed to the creation of a rigorous framework by which to appreciate how these agents interact with one another in vivo. Additional studies enabled further definition of the nomenclature and kinetics for the FGF-2 receptor complex, characterization of synergy between many growth factors, and demonstration that the mode of growth factor or inhibitor delivery determines biologic effect.

The applied aspects of their work flow from the umbrella of growth modulation. They reasoned that the optimal way to control a biologic event was by recapitulating natural means of regulation. Hence, polymeric controlled drug delivery systems should mimic natural release systems, and vascular implants should be devised with an intimate knowledge of the injury they induce. The development and mathematical characterization of perivascular and stent-based drug delivery is an example of the former, and design of an endovascular stent from first principles is an example of the latter. The basic and applied aspects of his operation are intimately joined. Work with antisense oligonucleotides, HDL receptor biology and tissue engineered endothelial implants are a few examples where these two fields come together in his laboratory. Many of his findings are now in clinical trial validation. Almost 300 students and postdoctoral fellows have passed through Dr. Edelman's laboratory enabling publications of numerous papers and patents.