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       Biomedical scientist Robert Langer headshot

      Biomedical scientist Robert Langer receives the 2023 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

      Each year, Johnson & Johnson honors a scientist currently working in academia, industry or a scientific institute who has made a significant contribution toward the improvement of public health.

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      Robert Langer, Sc.D., an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been awarded the 2023 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. The annual honor goes to a scientist who’s made a transformational contribution toward improving human health.

      And “transformational” describes Langer’s work to a T.

      Widely recognized as “the father of controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering,” Langer is being honored for his groundbreaking work in designing novel drug delivery systems that can deliver medications continuously, precisely and at controlled rates over extended periods. His pioneering research into biomedical compounds for drug delivery and tissue engineering has impacted a wide range of medical technologies, including anticancer therapy, vaccine development and gene therapy, among others.

      “Early in my career at MIT, a number of professors said the whole idea of doing drug delivery didn’t make sense, that it was wrong,” recalls Langer, whose research lab at MIT is considered the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world. “I believed in what I was doing so I just kept trying.”

      Pushing the boundaries of science to change the trajectory of health

      Established in 2004 by what is now called Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine (formerly known as the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson), the prestigious award celebrates dedicated researchers and champions of science whose basic or clinical discoveries have made, or have the potential to make, a measurable impact on human health. The award honors the legacy of “Dr. Paul,” who helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines, four of which remain on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines today.

      Since its inception, the award has recognized 23 scientists, eight of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize for the same work. Winners are chosen by an independent selection committee of the world’s most renowned scientists. The award includes a $200,000 cash prize.

      “Any award that celebrates science is a good thing—especially if it can inspire young people and people everywhere to see that science can do good things,” says Langer. “Science can make the world a better place.”

      To hear from Langer directly and learn more about his work, watch the video below.

      DPJA 2024 - Journey of drug delivery - 240201.mp4

      Meet more Dr. Paul Janssen Award winners

      See how past awardees have left a lasting legacy with their own scientific breakthroughs.

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