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Donald Ingber appointed to Friedrich Merz Guest Professorship at Goethe University

Ingber’s honor will enable him to present the potential of Organ Chip technology in a series of lectures to academics, industrial scientists, and the public

The Wyss Institute Founding Director, Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., will be honored as the Friedrich Merz 28th guest professor at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. With this honor, Merz Pharma is recognizing Ingber’s accomplishments for developing organ-on-chip (Organ Chip) technology that recapitulates complex human physiology across multiple organs outside the human body. This technology opens new paths for the discovery and testing of new drugs and diagnostics, and the study of human diseases in an in vitro context. Organ Chip technology also presents a solution to the problem that results obtained from animal experiments often do not predict drug responses in humans because of differences in morphology, physiology, and genetics between species.

Founding Director Donald Ingber. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

The Friedrich Merz Professorship, endowed in December 1985 on the occasion of the eponymous company founder’s 100th birthday and first awarded 1987, is one of the oldest chairs for visiting professors at Frankfurt’s Goethe University. Its purpose is to invite highly respected scientists from the fields of pharmaceuticals or human medicine to visit and work at Goethe University. Ingber will present a series of lectures at Goethe University and Merz Pharmaceuticals, as well as the opening keynote presentation at an international symposium on “Modeling health and diseases: from in vitro design to future therapies.” On the day after, members of the public will have the opportunity to engage with Ingber in a discussion during an open symposium at the Goethe family home where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe resided until 1795. This public forum will probe into the question “Human organs and diseases in a test tube: fiction or a realistic alternative to animal testing?”

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Friedrich Merz Guest Professorship. It is a wonderful opportunity to share our advances in Human Organ Chip technology and other bioinspired engineering approaches pioneered at the Wyss Institute with other academics, industrial researchers, and the broader public. I am deeply appreciative for this recognition of the work we are doing to help replace animal testing, shorten the time for drug development, and increase its likelihood of success,” said Ingber, who is also 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 Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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