Alfred University News

World-renowned biomedical engineering researcher Dr. Robert Langer to give commencement address

Dr. Robert S. Langer
Dr. Robert S. Langer

World-renowned biomedical engineering researcher Dr. Robert S. Langer, co-founder of more than 40 biotechnology companies including COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna, will deliver the keynote address for Alfred University’s 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14.


ALFRED, NY—World-renowned biomedical engineering researcher Dr. Robert S. Langer, co-founder of more than 40 biotechnology companies including COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna, will deliver the keynote address for Alfred University’s 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

Langer is a professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering. As a faculty member in the David H. Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, he is one of 13 Institute Professors at MIT; being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to an MIT faculty member. Renowned for his contributions to medicine and biotechnology, Langer is viewed as the founder of the field of tissue engineering in regenerative medicine, and is the pioneer of hundreds of technologies, including controlled release and transdermal drug delivery systems, which allow the non-invasive administration of drugs through the skin.

He holds more than 1,400 granted or pending patents, which have been licensed or sublicensed to more than 400 companies. The author of more than 1,500 articles, he is one of the world’s most highly cited scholars, with more than 363,000 citations, and is the most cited engineer in history and fourth most cited individual in any field. Langer is also a prolific entrepreneur, having participated in the founding of more than 40 biotechnology companies including Cambridge, MA-based Moderna, which pioneered messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines. He also founded Microchips Biotech, a venture-backed biotech company for which Alfred University alumna Dr. Cheryl Blanchard ’86 once served as president and CEO.

Langer is the recipient of more than 220 awards, and is one of just three living individuals who have received both the United States National Medal of Science (2006) and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011). He is also a recipient of the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers), the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Albany Medical Center Prize, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Kyoto Prize, Wolf Prize for Chemistry, Millennium Technology Prize, Priestley Medal (the highest award of the American Chemical Society), Gairdner Prize, Hoover Medal, Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences, and the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine.

Langer earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his doctoral degree, also in chemical engineering, from MIT. He is recipient of 36 honorary degrees and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. His sister, Katherine, earned a master’s degree in school psychology from Alfred University in 1974.