Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, is one of three individuals who have been awarded this year's Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement, created by Japanese philanthropist Kazuo Inamori. As part of the prize, Langer will receive a diploma, a gold Kyoto Prize medal, and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $500,000).
Langer, who holds appointments in the departments of chemical engineering and biological engineering, was cited as “a founder of the field of tissue engineering and creator of revolutionary drug delivery system (DDS) technologies.” His citation notes that “tissue engineering is indispensable for the implementation of regenerative medicine. Langer’s technique applies biodegradable polymer technologies to construct ‘scaffolds’ for cell growth, contributing to the regeneration of tissues and organs. He has also developed DDS technologies for the controlled release of proteins, nucleic acids, and other macromolecular drugs. He holds more than 800 patents and is actively involved in promoting the practical application of his discoveries as a leader in the interdisciplinary advancement of medicine and engineering.”
Earlier this year, Langer was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, founded in 2013 by major Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs. Langer has received more than 220 awards for his work and is the most-cited engineer in history.
Other laureates included theoretical physicist Edward Witten, honored for his “contributions to the development of mathematical sciences through the exploration of superstring theory,” and Fukumi Shimura, “an artist in constant pursuit of the fundamental human value of harmonious coexistence with nature.”
The awards will be presented on Nov. 10 in Kyoto, Japan.