Robert S. Langer, MD, PhD

Dr. Langer, MD, PhD, is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. Dr. Langer completed his undergraduate studies in chemical engineering at Cornell University and obtained his ScD in chemical engineering at MIT. He joined MIT as Assistant Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry in 1978. Dr. Langer has written over 1,350 articles and has over 1,100 issued and pending patents worldwide, licensed or sublicensed to over 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. He is the most cited engineer in history. Dr. Langer served as a member of the SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board, from 1995-2002 and as its Chairman from 1999-2002. Forbes Magazine and Bio World have named him one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Dr. Langer has received over 220 major awards. He is one of 4 living individuals to have received both the US National Medal of Science (2006) and the U.S. 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, the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the 2014 Kyoto Prize. 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. In 2015, Dr. Langer received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. 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, 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.

  • David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Germeshausen Professor of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology