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Langer, a 2007 National Medal of Science winner, to speak at Lehigh Nov. 30

Robert S. Langer runs the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world at MIT.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Robert S. Langer, Ph.D., a recipient of the 2007 National Medal of Science, will visit Lehigh on Friday, November 30, 2007, for a series of events and speaking engagements open to the campus community and the general public.

Langer will first speak at a technical colloquium on “Advances in Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering” at 11 a.m. at Whitaker 303. Later at 2 p.m. he will attend a poster session and open forum for invited faculty and graduate students. Langer’s visit will culminate with a free public lecture at 4 p.m. entitled “Biomaterials: How They Will Change Our Lives” will be held at Packard Lab Auditorium at 4 p.m.

Awarded a National Medal of Science in July 2007, Langer is renowned for his revolutionary work on new and different ways to administer drugs to cancer patients. At MIT, he runs the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world. He holds more than 550 issued and pending patents and has written some 900 research papers.

Langer’s achievements have had a profound impact on the field of cancer research, and led to his being named one of the 100 most important people in America by Time magazine and CNN. His accomplishments are also unique in that he entered the field with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering when he teamed with cancer researcher Judah Folkman at Children’s Hospital in Boston in 1974. At that time, the scientific community believed that only small molecules could pass through a plastic delivery system in a controlled manner.

In the 1970s, Langer developed polymer materials that allowed the large molecules of a protein to pass through membranes in a controlled manner to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which tumors recruit blood vessels. Blocking angiogenesis is critical in fighting cancer because the new blood vessels allow tumor cells to escape into the circulation and lodge in other organs.

Langer was cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world, and one of the 15 innovators worldwide who will reinvent our future. In 2004, Parade magazine selected Langer as one of six “Heroes whose research may save your life.”

Langer’s visit is sponsored by the W.M. Keck Foundation Grant for Applied Life Science Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for Undergraduate Bioscience Education.

--Tricia Long

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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