Robert S. Langer

Robert S. Langer (Copyright Bachrach Photography)

David H. Koch Institute Professor

Sc.D. 1974, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


KI Research Areas of Focus:
Nano-based Drugs, Cancer Immunology,
Personalized Medicine

"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."

Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and, as one of 14 Institute Professors, has received the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. His research is at the interface of medicine - cancer in particular - and materials science and chemical engineering. Nanotechnology is a major focus area for Dr. Langer, who is developing new nanoparticles to treat cancer and other diseases. Specifically, he designs polymer, lipid, and polymer-lipid hybrid nanocarriers for improved drug delivery, as well as similar controlled delivery systems for genetically engineered therapeutic proteins, DNA and RNA. Dr. Langer's work also includes the creation of novel approaches for the engineering of new tissues and organs.  

Dr. Langer has authored more than 1,200 articles, and has more than 800 issued and pending patents worldwide. He served as a member of the FDA's Science Board, its highest advisory board, from 1995-2002 and as its Chairman from 1999-2002.

Dr. Langer is one of very few people ever elected to all three United States National Academies, and has received more than 220 major awards. Highlights include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered engineering's Nobel Prize), the Millennium Technology Prize, the Albany Medical Center Prize, the Priestley Medal (the highest award of the American Chemical Society) the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and the Gairdner Foundation International Award. Forbes (1999) and Bio World (1990) named him as one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Forbes (2002) selected Dr. Langer as one of the 15 innovators worldwide who will reinvent the future. Both TIME 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. Dr. Langer earned a BS from Cornell University and a Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology both in chemical engineering, and holds 20 honorary doctorates.