Robert S. Langer, the Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, will deliver the 26th annual Killian Award Lecture, "Biomaterials and How They Will Change Our Lives," today (March 11) at 4:30pm in Huntington Hall (Rm 10-250).
In its announcement last June of Professor Langer as the 1997-98 James B. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award recipient, the selection committee said, "Using his background in polymer science, which he learned largely here at MIT, Bob Langer has become the leader in applying polymer chemistry to several distinct areas in the discipline of pharmacology. Bob has been the leader in the development of polymeric drug delivery systems that allow humans to receive drugs in a physiologically normal manner."
"Nearly everyone has used some type of biomaterials, whether it be in the form of a dental filling, suture or something more complex," Professor Langer said in the abstract for his lecture.
"However, there is an ongoing revolution in the biomedical sciences as well as in the design of novel biomaterials that together may enable new therapies that people once would not have thought possible. These include new plastic-based systems that can deliver an extensive array of new therapeutics for prolonged time periods and perhaps right to their intended targets in the human body. Such approaches are already leading to new therapies for certain types of cancer.
"There is also the exciting possibility of creating human replacement parts, such as new tissues like cartilage or skin by synthesizing the right biomaterials and combining them with the appropriate mammalian cells."
Professor Langer said the lecture, which is open to the public, will explore his experiences in the field, review what has been accomplished to date, and describe his hopes for the future.
The annual Killian award was established in 1971 as a tribute to the late Dr. Killian, MIT's 10th president and former chairman of the Corporation.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 11, 1998.