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Colleagues honor Langer for 30 years of innovation

Robert Langer
Robert Langer
Photo / Donna Coveney

Scientific colleagues from across the nation and the world celebrated the contributions made by Institute Professor Robert Langer with a three-day symposium held July 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge.

Langer, who holds more than 550 issued and pending patents and has written nearly 900 research papers, is known for his revolutionary research into new and different ways to administer drugs to cancer patients. At MIT, Langer runs the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world.

More than 450 people attended the conference, "Celebrating Thirty Years of Robert Langer's Science," which featured talks on drug delivery, biomaterials and tissue engineering, among other topics.

The event culminated in a Saturday evening gala at which Langer was presented with two volumes of letters from approximately 300 of his colleagues -- including a letter from MIT President Susan Hockfield.

Langer also received letters of congratulations and official proclamations from President Bush, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who entered a record of the event and Langer's biography into the Congressional Record.

In addition, Larry Lucchino, president of the Red Sox, Wyc Grousbeck, managing partner and governor of the Celtics, and Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Patriots, joined in congratulating Langer, presenting him with team jerseys and naming him an honorary member of their teams.

The symposium began with a keynote address Friday night by Professor Kent Bowen of the Harvard Business School (also a former MIT professor), who did a major case study on Langer for the Harvard Business School and spoke on the "Impact of the Langer Lab." This speech was followed by talks by Dr. David Kessler, former FDA commissioner and current chancellor of the University of California, Dr. Henry Brem, chief of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School, and Alan Crane, CEO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals.

Talks Saturday included "Langer's Influence on Drug Delivery" and "Angiogenesis as an Organizing Principle in Biology: The Langer Contribution."

There were more than 30 presentations. MIT speakers on the agenda were Daniel Anderson, a research associate at the Center for Cancer Research; Alexander Klibanov, professor of chemistry; Elazer Edelman, the Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology; and Linda Griffith, S.E.T.I. Professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering.

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