A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Douglas A. Lauffenburger is well-seasoned in biology and has made important contributions to biomedical research. Dr. Lauffenburger has employed innovative mathematical approaches that have refined the way scientists view problems in cell biology, and his research has yielded a greater understanding of the dynamic circuitry of living systems. His computer-based methods probe the communication and control mechanisms governing the behavior of cells, such as how they move and divide.
Dr. Lauffenburger's studies center on understanding the function and control of an important signaling molecule called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which plays key roles in a wide array of processes ranging from embryonic and tissue development to angiogenesis and cancer. Recently, Dr. Lauffenburger's combination of modeling and experiment has led to fundamental discoveries about the communication and control circuits that are switched on by EGFR. These studies are paving the way toward designing drugs to combat health problems that result when EGFR signaling goes awry.
Dr. Lauffenburger is a professor in the Biological Engineering Division, the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also co-director of the Biological Engineering Division and director of the MIT Biotechnology Process Engineering Center. Dr. Lauffenburger is a founding fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a former president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the 1999 Amgen Award in Biochemical Engineering from the Engineering Foundation for his molecular and cellular bioengineering research.
Dr. Lauffenburger earned a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1975 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1979 from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and is a member of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council.
Dr. Lauffenburger receives NIGMS support for his research, and he has also directed the NIGMS-funded predoctoral biotechnology training program at MIT.