Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his B.A., M.A., M.Phil., M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University.
Ingber is a pioneer in the field of biologically inspired engineering. At the Wyss Institute, he currently leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and to improve sustainability. His work has led to major advances in mechanobiology, tumor angiogenesis, tissue engineering, systems biology, nanobiotechnology and translational medicine. Through his work, Ingber also has helped to break down boundaries between science, art and design.
Ingber has authored more than 400 publications and 125 patents, founded 4 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 450 events internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers world-wide in 2012 (Nature Biotechnology), a Leading Global Thinker of 2015 (Foreign Policy magazine), and has received numerous other honors in a broad range of disciplines, including the Robert A. Pritzker Award and the Shu Chien Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Rous Whipple Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of In Vitro Biology, the Leading Edge Award from the Society of Toxicology, and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award.
Some of Ingber’s most recently developed technologies include an anticoagulant surface coating for medical devices that replaces the need for dangerous blood-thinning drugs; a dialysis-like sepsis therapeutic device that clears blood of pathogens and inflammatory toxins; a shear stress-activated nanotherapeutic that targets clot-busting drugs to sites of vascular occlusion; and Human Organs-on-Chips created with microchip manufacturing methods and lined by living human cells, which are being used to replace animal testing as a more accurate and affordable in vitro platform for drug development and personalized medicine. In 2015, Ingber’s Organs-on-Chips technology was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for its permanent design collection.
How do art, design, mechanics, and cell biology inspire bioengineering? In this interview segment, Don Ingber describes his path to the Wyss Institute and the different interests along the way that have inspired his work through the years.