Robert Samuel Langer, born in 1948 in Albany, New York, now is an American engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, inventor and also professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining over $10 million in annual grants and staffed by over 100 researchers. He is also currently on the board of directors at Bind Therapeutics and Advanced Cell Technology.
Langer is a widely recognized and the most cited researcher in biotechnology, especially in the fields of drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. He has been cited over 151,000 times, according to the statistics collected. He holds more than 1,000 patents and has been awarded more than 200 science prizes. And this year Robert Langer accepted the prestigious Kyoto Prize in Tokyo, adding another great prize to his list of achievements.
Kyoto Prize is Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. The Prize has been awarded annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation. The Prize is provided to those who are top representatives of their own respective research field and who have made significant contribution to the scientific, cultural, or spiritual betterment of mankind. This year, there were 96 individuals honored with this prize, including scientists, engineers and researchers, philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors.
Langer is known by the world for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology. He pioneers in many new technologies, including controlled release systems and transdermal delivery systems, which allow the administration of drugs or extraction of analytes from the body through the skin without needles or other invasive methods. Although he has won the worldwide prestige and so many precious prizes, he never shows off. Just in the opposite, he always behaves in a modest and courteous manner in every public occasion.
“I look at the people who won this prize and it’s very humbling to be in their company. I think the Kyoto Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in the world, and to be included in a group of people who won it before me – that’s a really big honor “, Robert Langer says when holding the Kyoto Prize d at the award ceremony for his contribution to tissue engineering.
Tissue engineering was developed by Langer and surgeon Joseph Philip Vacanti about 30 years ago. Now it has become an interdisciplinary science of growing human tissue to repair or replace the damaged tissues. Currently, tissue engineering is mostly used for skin and cartilage transplant treatment. It can also be applied to help grow blood vessels and even organs.
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