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History of the Daniel I. C. Wang Lecture on the Frontiers of Biotechnology

Institute Professor Daniel I. C. WangThe Daniel I. C. Wang Lecture on the Frontiers of Biotechnology Lectureship was established in 1999 through a generous donation from Dr. Noubar Afeyan to acknowledge the enabling technologies and developments that have sustained the growth of biotechnology and life sciences. Some of these include bioprocess engineering (upstream and downstream processes), bioanalytical developments, advanced and new instruments, novel delivery concepts, biomedical devices, rational drug design, computational methods, bioinformatics, and information technology. It is the intent of this Lectureship to recognize and honor achievements on the "frontiers of biotechnology" and the distinguished scientists and engineers responsible for them.

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Institute Professor Daniel I. C. Wang
Daniel I.C. Wang is Institute Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the Temasek Professor at the National University of Singapore.  He obtained his BS in chemical engineering and MS in biochemical engineering both from MIT.  His PhD was from the University of Pennsylvania in chemical engineering.  He has been a faculty member at MIT since 1965.  Professor Wang spent two years in the US Army at the US Army Biological Laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland, from 1963 to 1965.  He was also the visiting Fairchild Professor at CalTech.

Professor Wang’s present research is in the areas of recombinant protein production using Escherichia coli to increase protein expression by engineering and genetic manipulations.  These include the use of magnetically coated fluorocarbons to increase oxygen transfer and two-phase aqueous micellar systems metal chelate affinity purification of proteins.  He is also performing studies in animal cell culture with emphasis in the increased production of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies.  These include the understanding of cell death using proteomics to profile the different cell populations.  In his animal cell culture research, he is active to increase the quality of therapeutic proteins.  Lastly, he has a program in the stabilization of proteins using quantum mechanics to simulate various events leading to protein inactivation.  His past research has been on new concepts in bioreactor design and operations, oxygen transfer in fermentors, fluid shear damage of animal cells, enzyme technology, membrane filtration and renewable resource utilization.  His most recent research deals with biocatalysis in chiral chemical synthesis, renewable resource utilization for biofuels production and microbial desulfurization.

He has been the recipient of various awards.  These include the elections to the National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Institute of Biological Engineering, Academia Sinica (Republic of China) and the International Biotechnology Institute.  He has received from the American Chemical Society the M.J. Johnson Award and Dave Perlman Memorial Lecture Award.  From the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, he has received the Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Award, the Institute Lecturer and the William H. Walker Award.  He has also received the Amgen Award from the Engineering Foundation and the Asia-Pacific Distinguished Biochemical Award.  He has received honorary doctoral degrees from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Catholic University, Valparaiso, Chile and Honorary Professor from Peking Union Medical College.  He has delivered plenary and keynote lectures throughout the world including Chile, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, People’s Republic of China, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

He has co-authored 5 books, published over 250 papers, and secured 15 patents.

Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D.
Noubar Afeyan is Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, a firm he co-founded in 2000 that focuses on inventing, launching, funding and building new ventures. He is also a Senior Lecturer at MIT where he has taught courses on entrepreneurship and innovation since 2000. In addition, he recently joined Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering as a visiting scholar.   Dr. Afeyan has authored numerous scientific publications and patents since earning his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from MIT in 1987.  During his 23-year-long career as inventor, entrepreneur, CEO and venture capitalist, Dr. Afeyan has co-founded and helped build more than 22 life science, technology and energy startups.   Currently Dr. Afeyan serves on a number of public and private company boards and he is a member of several advisory boards including the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, the SKOLKOVO School of Management in Moscow and the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia.  Dr. Afeyan's past and current ventures include: PerSeptive Biosystems, ChemGenics Pharmaceuticals, EXACT Sciences, Color Kinetics, Celera Genomics, Affinnova, Adnexus Therapeutics, BG Medicine, LS9 and Joule Unlimited.

Previous Lectures
2011 Chris Somerville, Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California - Berkeley
2011 Professor Tillman Gerngross, Dartmouth College
2009 Professor Peter Schultz, Scripps Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute, Director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation
2007 Dr. Peter S. Kim, President, Merck Research Laboratories
2005 Jay D. Keasling, Director, Berkeley Center for Synthetic Biology, University of California, Berkeley
2004 Douglas C. Cameron, Director of Biotechnology, Biotechnology Development Center, Cargill Incorporated
2003 Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Director, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT
2002 William H. Rastetter, IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation
2001 George M. Whitesides, Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry, Harvard University
2000 Mark J. Levin, Chairman and CEO, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
1999 Inaugural Lecture Daniel I. C. Wang, Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT