Robert Langer ’70 receives engineering’s highest alumni honor

Robert Langer ’70 receives engineering’s highest alumni honor

He is the most cited engineer in historical past. He holds extra than 1,400 patents. His pioneering operate in biotechnology, drug supply and tissue engineering has built him a person of the most prolific inventors in medicine, and he has co-established extra than 40 companies, together with Moderna.

For this and a lot of other achievements, Robert Langer ’70 gained the Cornell Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in the course of a celebration hosted April 19 in the Duffield Hall Atrium.

Langer, who prospects the nation’s greatest academic biomedical engineering lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies, researched chemical engineering at Cornell. Due to the fact that time, he has distinguished himself as “one of the most artistic, brilliant and influential alumni in Cornell’s record,” Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff stated.

Langer’s investigate has led to new solutions for most cancers and coronary heart disease, developments in the generation of engineered blood vessels and skin, and new techniques for rushing drug discovery by way of organ-on-a-chip technological know-how. Kotlikoff claimed Langer’s patents have been accredited or sublicensed to about 400 companies, and reported his investigate has experienced a worldwide impact – notably, the groundwork Langer laid for the development of mRNA vaccines.

Langer has been elected to all a few American science academies and was awarded the U.S. Countrywide Medal of Science, the Countrywide Medal of Technological innovation and Innovation, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and the Charles Stark Draper Prize, amid other honors. In 2015, he was named the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Calendar year.

“Amazingly, with all of his accomplishments and accolades, Bob is the most humble and self-effacing individual you are ever probably to fulfill,” Kotlikoff reported.

Presenting the alumni award was Lynden Archer, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering, who described Langer as fearless, a coalition builder and an innovator without equivalent.

“Among all of these distinctions, what stands out most for me is Bob’s effect as an adviser and mentor to many pupils, postdoctoral experts and members of the school,” Archer reported.

Langer’s former learners and mentees involve several Cornell Engineering school customers who spoke of his impact in the course of the occasion. The speakers ended up Rong Yang, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Chris Alabi, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Shaoyi Jiang, the Robert Langer ’70 Relatives and Pals Professor and David Putnam, professor of biomedical engineering and associate dean for innovation and entrepreneurship. Susan Daniel, the William C. Hooey Director of the Smith Faculty of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, moderated the talks.

Langer acknowledged the many scientists that labored below him as he gave the event’s keynote deal with. He shared reminiscences from his time at Cornell, which he termed “a actually great education” that “is still handy to me nowadays.”

Langer peppered his address with anecdotes about persevering through rejection and criticism of analysis concepts all through his vocation – from his 1st specialist analysis undertaking acquiring angiogenesis inhibitors to block tumor advancement, to his get the job done enabling Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine – a lot of of which enhanced the life of plenty of folks many thanks to the persistence of Langer and those people working under him.

“You can probably explain to from the way I’m speaking that I’m extremely very pleased of how perfectly all our pupils have done,” said Langer, who generally states his mentees are his most memorable achievement.

The Cornell Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award was founded in 2018 to acknowledge alumni whose accomplishments have produced significant impact in society and brought distinction to the Cornell engineering group.

Syl Kacapyr is affiliate director of promoting and communications for Cornell Engineering.