David H. Koch Institute Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. Langer’s lab works at the interface of biotechnology and materials science, focusing on the development and testing of new polymer systems for tissue engineering and the delivery of compounds such as insulin, anti-cancer drugs, growth factors, proteins, gene therapy agents, and vaccines to specific areas of the body. In 2013, for example, researchers from his lab showed that insulin can be delivered orally in mice, if it’s encapsulated in antibody-coated nanoparticles that interact with receptors on the wall of the intestine, brokering entry into the bloodstream.
The most-cited engineer in history (with an h-index of 211), Langer is the author of more than 1,300 articles and holder of nearly 1,100 patents. He is the recipient of every major prize in engineering, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize in 2002, the United States National Medal of Science (2006) and National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011), the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013), and the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2015). He has helped to start at least 25 startups making products to treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and schizophrenia. On Langer Lab spinoff, MicroCHIPS, is working to miniaturize an implantable, wirelessly controlled chip — first developed by Langer and MIT colleague Michael Cima — to dispense precise doses of medication inside the body. Another spinoff, Living Proof, sells hair-thickening compounds and boasts actor Jennifer Aniston as investor and spokesperson.