Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 4 (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   4 comments

Sci Tech

Dr. Robert Langer Juggles Technology, Business & Mentoring at MIT Lab

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Funny 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 12/5/12

Become a Fan
  (70 fans)
My guest today is Dr. Robert Langer, Koch Institute Professor at MIT. He is a chemical engineer with over 800 patents issued or pending. Welcome to OpEdNews, Bob. What goes on over at MIT's famed Langer Lab, which I'm assuming was named in your honor? 

  
photo credit:  Bachrach

We do research in a variety of areas of biomedical engineering such as biomaterials, drug delivery, and tissue engineering.

Wouldn't "pharmacy on a chip' be a perfect example? Can you tell our readers what it is and how it works, please?

Yes, it's a good example. We have created these little chips with hundreds of wells. Each well contains a dose of drug or the wells can contain different drugs. The wells have caps on them. And so the drug doesn't come out until you open the caps, and you can open the caps individually by remote control by radio frequency -- the same way you open a garage door. So you can get virtually any release pattern for a single drug or multiple drugs from a single implant or pill.

Cool technology! What are the other advantages of such a dispenser?

You could get pulsatile drug delivery, or any delivery pattern you want. You could also do remote control drug delivery.

Does that mean that a person wouldn't have to come in for injections?  

Yes.

I can see that would be a big plus. What is entrepreneurial science? Is Langer Lab a good illustration of it? How does the nexus of academia, the government and business work better than any of them alone? Why can't Big Pharma accomplish with its huge budget what you do in your lab?

I'm not sure there is a real definition but I think of it as science that can translate into products eventually. Our lab does that. The government provides funding, academia provides discovery, and business turns the discovery into products. Big Pharma does a lot of useful things, but they have to produce financial results in the short term. We don't. And I think that's one reason we can innovate differently. Another difference is our organization is smaller. That may make us more nimble.

Langer Lab is, reportedly, the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world. How does one keep a facility of that magnitude nimble and responsive?

By having very smart students and postdocs, and by communicating frequently.

A good combination, to be sure. Despite your busy schedule, you still find time to mentor. Why is it important to you?

I love working with students. Seeing them do well is almost like seeing my children do well. It makes me very happy.


You've achieved a lot of milestones during your career. You've received prestigious prizes and recognition from your peers and national and international journals and magazines. Many of your business ventures have been successful in delivering better medical care to patients.  That must be very gratifying. Does it ever get old, Bob?  Overwhelming?

No. I feel very lucky. It never gets old.

What's left to do?

I still want to make more inventions and discoveries, to see them get translated into products that can help people, and to train the next generation of great bioengineers.

How do you keep fresh?

I exercise a lot.

Anything in particular?

Weights every other day and about 2-3 hours of treadmill, stationary recumbent bike and elliptical. I generally read and work while on these.
 
Do you have any advice for budding scientists or entrepreneurs?

[Bob quotes himself here:] "There may be many times when you try to invent something, that people tell you that it's impossible, that it will never work.  But I think that is very rarely true.  I think if you really believe in yourself, if you are persistent and work hard, there is very little that is truly impossible."

What do you do in your free time [if you ever have any]?

Exercise and spend time with my family.

Sounds good to me! What didn't we talk about that you'd like to?

You did a great job. 
 
Why, thank you, Bob. It was a pleasure speaking with you.  I can't wait to see what else you and Langer Lab come up with!

***

Hatching Ideas, and Companies, By the Dozens at MIT , New York Times, November 24, 2012

 

http://www.opednews.com/author/author79.html

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, Arrested Tuesday at Senate Roundtable on Health Care

Renowned Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck on "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success"

Howard Zinn on "The People Speak," the Supreme Court and Haiti

Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)

Fed Up With Corporate Tax Dodgers? Check Out PayUpNow.org!

Literary Agent Shares Trade Secrets With New Writers

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

and I was fascinated: the confluence between techn... by Joan Brunwasser on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:47:16 PM
A dead one. Raped and murdered.   My unders... by Ned Lud on Friday, Dec 7, 2012 at 7:27:23 AM
I think you are a wonderful example of the proper ... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Dec 10, 2012 at 6:59:27 PM
Daniel, your opinions regarding 'light' and 'dark'... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:31:52 AM