MIT Engineer Robert Langer Will Challenge iCons Students to Find a Use for His Latest Invention during Workshop

October 22, 2013

Contact: Daniel J. Fitzgibbons 413/545-0444

AMHERST, Mass. – Robert S. Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will ask University of Massachusetts Amherst students to weigh in on cutting edge biotechnology during an integrative science workshop on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in 135 Integrated Sciences Building Auditorium.

Sponsored by the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences’ Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) Program, the workshop will provide a unique opportunity for UMass Amherst students to engage with innovative medical research. Langer will present a novel technology that has been developed in his lab at MIT, and will challenge students to come up with practical applications for his invention on the spot.

It’s not just an academic exercise. With more than 800 issued and pending patents under his belt, and a hand in the formation of 25 companies, Langer has the ingenuity and resources needed to transform ideas into real-world solutions. His research takes place at the interface of medicine, materials science, and chemical engineering, focusing on controlled drug delivery, engineering new organs and tissues, and developing nanoparticles to treat diseases such as cancer.

As one of 14 “institute professors,” Langer holds the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member at MIT. He has published more than 1,200 articles and received more than 220 major awards, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered engineering’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

Langer’s lab at MIT is a model for fruitful cross-pollination in science and engineering, and his accomplishments are a testament to the value of an integrated approach to problem solving.

“Bob Langer is the poster child for the type of education we provide in iCons; we hope to produce many more like Dr. Langer if that is possible,” says program director Scott Auerbach, a chemistry professor at UMass Amherst. The mission of the iCons Program is to produce the next generation of leaders in science and technology with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to solve the inherently multi-faceted problems facing society.

“We expect that the iCons students will take on Langer’s challenge, will leave inspired by the tremendous contributions he has made to society, and may even point the way to Langer’s next breakthrough,” said Auerbach.