Prof. Robert Langer was a pioneer in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. His name is now synonymous with tissue engineering and drug delivery methods. He was the driving force for the fusion of the commercial sector and scholarly study. He has contributed substantially to the explosion of pharmaceutical start-ups that create revolutionary drug delivery methods, bioengineering solutions, regenerative medicine technologies, and much more that have altered the current landscape of medicine.
The Moderna vaccine, one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to be approved for emergency use, was a product of one of the many laboratories Prof. Langer is a co-founder. He was also instrumental in founding some of the renowned pharma companies such as Acupshere, InVivo Therapeutics, Sontra Medical, Enzytech, Oliva Labs, and T2Biosystems, to name a few of the 40+ companies he’s associated with. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Patient Innovation, a non-profit, international organization for patients/caregivers of people with any disease to share their innovations or ideas.
His accomplishments go way back, from when he graduated as a chemical engineer at Cornell University. Although his journey to becoming one of the most eminent personalities of the biotech and pharmaceutical industry wasn’t all roses and unicorns, he endured a ton of rejections before his work was acknowledged and honored in this competitive industry.
Celebrated as the founder of tissue engineering, one of his earliest breakthroughs was when he worked with Dr. Folkman at Harvard in the 80s. He had isolated angiogenesis inhibitors and incorporated them in a porous polymer that controlled the rate at which such large molecules were released, this helped control the growth of tumors, making it one of the path-breaking discoveries in cancer research at that time.
The Langer Lab at M.I.T headed by this David H. Koch Institute Professor (he is also one of the 12 famed Institute Professors), is a melting pot of talent from across the world who happen to be chemical engineers, cell biologists, chemists, physicists, material scientists, geneticists, medical doctors, mechanical engineers and mathematicians by profession. The Langer lab's primary research interests include, but are not limited to, nanotechnology, biocompatible drug delivery polymers, genetically engineered drug delivery systems, biomolecular engineering, tissue engineering, and a host of other areas that have the potential to alter how we approach the treatment of numerous life-threatening chronic diseases in the future.
With over 376,000 citations, an h-index of 305, and over 1,400 granted or pending patents, Prof. Langer is also the most-cited engineer. He has authored over 1500 research papers. Adding to his accolades, Langer was the youngest person in history to be elected to all three American science academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine, a feat achieved by very few. Despite being a busy academician at MIT, he maintained a balance between his academic work and his involvement in research, start-ups, and scientific writing. This could be a prime example of how physicians and biomedical experts may contribute to projects and positively affect the biomedical community.
Reading about Prof. Langer, his work, and his students would give you a brand new perspective on how to approach this incredibly vast and adventurous field if you have ever thought about working on research part-time, freelancing in academia, or having a knack for inventions to discover new possibilities in the biotech world.
Bob Langer is one of the greatest scientists in the history of medicine...Continue reading