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The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Robert S. Langer

Robert S. Langer (Copyright Bachrach Photography)

David H. Koch (1962) Institute Professor

Member, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine

 

KI Research Areas of Focus:
Nano-based Drugs

"Our work is at the interface of biotechnology and materials science. A major focus is the study and development of materials such as polymers and lipids to deliver drugs, particularly genetically engineered proteins and DNA and RNA, continuously at controlled rates for prolonged periods of time. 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 systems to be used in mammalian cell transplants to create liver, cartilage, pancreas, and nerves. We are also developing new approaches to improve health in the developing world including new methods of vaccination and providing better nutrition."

Robert Langer was born in Albany, New York.  He received his Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) in 1974, both in chemical engineering.

Robert Langer is one of 12 Institute Professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. He has written nearly 1,500 articles, which have been cited over 310,000 times; his h-index of 274 is the highest of any engineer in history and the 8th highest of any individual in history (behind Sigmund Freud and a few others). He has more than 1,350 issued and pending patents worldwide. His patents have licensed or sublicensed to over 400 companies. He served as Chairman of the FDA’s Science Board (its highest advisory board) from 1999-2002. 

His over 220 awards include both the United States National Medal of Science and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation (he is one of 4 living individuals to have received both these honors), the Charles Stark Draper Prize (often called the Engineering Nobel Prize), Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Albany Medical Center Prize, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Kyoto Prize, Wolf Prize for Chemistry, Millennium Technology Prize, Priestley Medal (highest award of the American Chemical Society), Gairdner Prize, Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences, Maurice Marie-Janot Award, and the Lemelson-MIT prize, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” He holds 34 honorary doctorates and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.

Robert Langer is a co-founder and serves (or has served) as a member of the Board of Directors of many entities, including Moderna, Living Proof, Momenta, and Frequency Therapeutics. Please see Harvard Business Review (paywall) for further discussion. Click here for a complete listing. 

Research Summary

  • Investigating the mechanism of release from polymeric delivery systems with concomitant microstructural analysis and mathematical modeling
  • Studying applications of these systems including the development of effective long-term delivery systems for insulin, anti-cancer drugs, growth factors, gene therapy agents and vaccines
  • Developing controlled release systems that can be magnetically, ultrasonically, or enzymatically triggered to increase release rates
  • Synthesizing new biodegradable polymeric delivery systems which will ultimately be absorbed by the body
  • Creating new approaches for delivering drugs such as proteins and genes across complex barriers in the body such as the blood-brain barrier, the intestine, the lung and the skin
  • Researching new ways to create tissue and organs including creating new polymer systems for tissue engineering
  • Stem cell research including controlling growth and differentiation
  • Creating new biomaterials with shape memory or surface switching properties
  • Angiogenesis inhibition

Selected Publications

Srinivasan S, Ramadi K, Vicario F, Gwynne D, Hayward A, Lagier D, Langer R, Frassica J, Baron R, Traverso G. A rapidly deployable individualized system for augmenting ventilator capacity. Science Translational Medicine, 2020.

Yang K, O’Cearbhaill E, Liu S, Zhou A, Hamilos A, Chitnis G,  Xu J, Giraldo J, Verma M, Pop R, Langer R,  Melton D, Greiner D, Karp J.   SUbA therapeutic convection enhanced macroencapsulation device for enhancing β cell viability and insulin secretion. Science Advances, 2020.

Mirvakili S, Sim D, Hunter I, Langer R. Magnetically induced thermal pneumatic artificial muscles. Science Robotics, 2020.

Sarmadi M, Behrens AM, McHugh KJ, Contreras H, Tochka Z, Lu X, Langer R, Jaklenec A. Modeling, design, and machine learning-based framework for optimal injectability of microparticle-based drug formulations.  Science Advances, 2020. 

Kirtane A, Hua T, Hayward A, Bajpayee A, Wahane A, Lopes A, Bensel T, Ma L, Stanczyk F, Brooks S, Gwynne D, Wainer J, Collins J, Tamang S, Langer R, Traverso G; A once a month oral contraceptive. Science Translational Medicine, 2019.

Traverso G, Abramson A, Caffarel-Salvador E, Soares V, Minahan D, Lu X, Tian R, Dellal D, Gao Y, Kim S, Wainer J, Collins J, Tamang S, Hayward A, Yoshitake T, Lee H, Fujimoto J, Fels J, Frederiksen M, Rahbek U, Roxhed N, Langer R. A luminal unfolding microneedle injector for oral delivery of macromolecules. Nature Medicine, 25:  1512-1518, 2019.

Farah S, Doloff J, Müller P, Sadraei A, Han H-J, Olafson K, Vyas K, Tam H-H, Hollister-Locke J, Griffin M, Meng A, McGarrigle J, Oberholzer J, Weir G, Greiner DL, Langer R, Anderson DG. Long-Term Implant Fibrosis Prevention in Rodents and Non-Human Primates Using Crystallized Drug Formulations. Nature Materials, 18: 892-904, 2019.

Riley R, June C, Langer R, Mitchell M. Delivery technologies for cancer immunotherapy. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 18:175-197, 2019.

Abramson A, Caffarel-Salvador E, Khang M, Dellal D, Silverstein D, Gao Y, Frederiksen M, Vegge A, Hubalek F, Water J, Friderichsen A, Fels J, Kirk R, Cleveland C, Collins J, Tamang S, Hayward A, Landh T, Buckley S, Roxhed N, Rahbek U, Langer R, Traverso G. An ingestible self orienting systems for oral delivery of macromolecules. Science, 363: 611-615, 2019.

Verma M, Vishwanath K, Eweje F, Roxhed N, Grant T, Castaneda M, Steiger C, Mazdiyasni H, Bensel T, Minahan D, Soares V, Lopes A, Hess K, Cleveland C, Fulop D, Hayward A, Collins J, Tamang S, Hua T, Ikeanyi C, Zeidman G, Mule E, Boominathan S, Popova E, Bellinger A, Collins D, Leibowitz D, Batra S, Ahuja S, Bajiya M, Batra S, Sarin R, Agarwal U, Khaparde S, Gupta K, Gupta D, Bhatnagar A, Chopra K, Sharma N, Khanna A, Chowdhury J, Stoner R, Slocum A, Cima M, Furin J, Langer R, Traverso G. A gastric resident drug delivery system for prolonged gram-level dosing of tuberculosis treatment. Science Translational Medicine, 11: eaau6267, 2019.

Search PubMed for Langer lab publications

Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor (there are 11 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 1,250 articles. He also has nearly 1,050 patents worldwide. Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 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 7 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, the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He is the also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 82 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002), Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003), the Harvey Prize (2003), the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004), the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the U.S. for medical research, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008), the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2011) and the Terumo International Prize (2012). In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 Dr. Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.

Forbes Magazine (1999) and Bio World (1990) have 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, Western University (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 and the University of California – San Francisco Medal. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in Chemical Engineering. - See more at: http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/events/biotech-boom-can-learn-banner-year/#sthash.B4F2WfTJ.dpuf
Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor (there are 11 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 1,250 articles. He also has nearly 1,050 patents worldwide. Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 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 7 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, the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He is the also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 82 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002), Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003), the Harvey Prize (2003), the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004), the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the U.S. for medical research, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008), the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2011) and the Terumo International Prize (2012). In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 Dr. Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.

Forbes Magazine (1999) and Bio World (1990) have 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, Western University (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 and the University of California – San Francisco Medal. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in Chemical Engineering. - See more at: http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/events/biotech-boom-can-learn-banner-year/#sthash.B4F2WfTJ.dpuf
Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor (there are 11 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 1,250 articles. He also has nearly 1,050 patents worldwide. Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 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 7 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, the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He is the also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 82 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002), Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003), the Harvey Prize (2003), the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004), the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005), the largest prize in the U.S. for medical research, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008), the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize (2011) and the Terumo International Prize (2012). In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 Dr. Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.

Forbes Magazine (1999) and Bio World (1990) have 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, Western University (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 and the University of California – San Francisco Medal. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in Chemical Engineering. - See more at: http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/events/biotech-boom-can-learn-banner-year/#sthash.B4F2WfTJ.dpuf

Contact Information

Robert S. Langer

room 76-661
phone (617) 253-3107
email rlanger@mit.edu

Langer Lab

phone (617) 253-3123
fax (617) 258-8827
website

Administrative Assistant:

Laura White
phone (617) 253-3123
email langeraa@mit.edu