Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
Professor Douglas A. Lauffenburger has been named director of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center (BPEC), effective September 1. He succeeds Institute Professor Daniel C. Wang, who has headed the BPEC since it was established in 1985.
In announcing this appointment, Professor John Vander Sande, acting dean of engineering, said, "In the three years since Professor Lauffenburger came to MIT, he has played a dynamic role in influencing the Institute's vision for the areas of biotechnology and bioengineering. As director of BPEC, he will lead the Center in conducting its cutting-edge research in biotechnology, strongly based on interdisciplinary collaboration."
A National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, BPEC is a world leader in biotechnology training, using an innovative, cross-disciplinary approach in which the fundamentals of advanced manufacturing technologies are explored through the application of engineering principles to the life sciences. Through collaborative programs with industry, BPEC seeks to enrich students' understanding of biotechnology, expand research activities and promote innovation. BPEC research is dedicated to developing enabling strategies for therapeutic biotechnology products, including both protein and gene therapeutics.
Professor Lauffenburger is already among the 14 faculty members from the departments of chemical engineering, biology and chemistry and the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health (BEH) affiliated with the program, as well as from the MIT Whitehead Institute.
Professor Lauffenburger received the BS from the University of Illinois in 1975 and the PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1979, both in chemical engineering. He was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois before coming to MIT in 1995 as the J.R. Mares Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Recently named a co-director of the new Division of BEH with Professor Steven Tannenbaum, Professor Lauffenburger was formerly director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering. That Center is now under the direction of Professor Alan Grodzinsky, of electrical engineering and computer science.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 23, 1998.