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2009 Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer Donald E. Ingber

From Cellular Mechanotransduction to Biologically Inspired Engineering

Judah FolkmanJudah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology
Harvard Medical School

The winner of the 2009 Pritzker Distinguished Lectureship Donald E. Ingber, presented a plenary lecture at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) meeting.

His lecture discussed the design principles that govern biological systems and scientific advancements in the field of biologically inspired engineering. He has made major contributions to cell and tissue engineering, as well as angiogenesis, cancer, developmental biology, biocomplexity, microsystems engineering, and nanobiotechnology.

His research group is interested in how living cells and tissues structure themselves so as to exhibit their incredible organic properties, including their ability to change shape, move, grow, and heal, as well as how cancer results from a breakdown of normal developmental control. His team strives to identify design principles that govern the formation and control of living systems and to use this knowledge to engineer biologically inspired materials, devices and therapeutics.

By combining approaches from molecular cell biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, magnetics, optics, and microfabrication, Ingber has helped to develop multiple new experimental nano- and micro-technologies, as well as engineered tissues and cancer therapeutics that have entered human clinical trials.

His pioneering work demonstrating that tensegrity architecture is a fundamental principle that governs how living cells and tissues are structured at the nanometer scale has inspired a new generation of bioengineers, cancer researchers, and nanotechnologists. It also has led to insight into the molecular biophysical mechanisms by which cells within all organs sense and respond to mechanical forces.

This work has led to almost 300 publications and 40 patents in areas ranging from anti-cancer therapeutics, tissue engineering, medical devices, and nanotechnology to bioinformatics software.

Ingber is the founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at the Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, and a professor of bioengineering at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science.