Don Ingber is Founding Director of the Wyss Institute and a leader in the emerging field of biologically inspired engineering. He oversees a multifaceted effort to identify the mechanisms that living organisms use to self assemble and to apply these design principles to develop advanced materials and devices. Within this overall effort, he also leads the Biomimetic Microsystems platform in which microfabrication techniques from the computer industry are used to build functional circuits with living cells as components. His most recent innovation is a technology for building tiny, complex, three-dimensional models of human organs. These “organs on chips” mimic complicated human functions, providing critical information for diagnostic and therapeutic applications more reliably and at a fraction of the cost and resources associated with traditional drug-testing methods. Ingber has made major contributions to cell and tissue engineering, angiogenesis and cancer research, systems biology, and nanobiotechnology. He was the first researcher to recognize that tensegrityarchitecture (in which a system stabilizes itself mechanically by balancing local compression with continuous tension) is a fundamental principle in the way living organisms are structured at the nanometer scale.
Ingber has authored more than 300 publications and 40 patents and has received numerous distinctions including the Pritzker Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of In Vitro Biology, the Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award. He holds the Judah Folkman Professorship of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston and is a Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Ingber also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and was recently elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.