The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has awarded its 2020 Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence to Maria Eugenia Inda, a Pew Postdoctoral Fellow in the Synthetic Biology Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The fellowship — which was inaugurated in 2019 and is administered by AIChE’s Center for Entrepreneuring Excellence — is named for biomedical pioneer Robert Langer of MIT. The Prize provides an unrestricted grant to enable creative researchers and engineering entrepreneurs in their early careers to pursue potentially game-changing innovations. Inda’s prize was announced during AIChE’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, which was held online November 16–20. The Langer Prize is endowed by the AIChE Foundation.
At MIT, Eugenia Inda is building biosensors to diagnose and treat disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Specifically, she is equipping the bacteria dwelling in the intestines with sensors to recognize the molecular markers of inflammation and to direct them as sentinels to patrol the gut and to track bacterial infections, metabolic disorders and deficiencies, and toxic elements in the body. Her work includes a multi-diagnostic diaper to monitor infants’ microbiome development.
In acknowledging the Langer Prize honor, Eugenia Inda said, “I am excited to join this fellowship program, which will help me to achieve the big dreams that I have.” She also thanked AIChE for its “generosity and support in celebrating the new generation of innovators, inventors, and scientific interpreters.” She added, “I am grateful to be part of this celebration.”
Dr. Inda will be formally recognized at an AIChE event to be announced.
In November, Eugenia Inda — along with 2019 Langer Prize recipient César de la Fuente of the University of Pennsylvania — presented their research in a video hosted by the AIChE Foundation and introduced by Robert Langer. The video is posted on AIChE’s ChEnected blog.
The deadline for 2021 fellowship applications is May 1, 2021. To apply, or to learn more about AIChE’s Langer Prizes, visit www.aiche.org/langerprizes.
To support the endowment campaign, visit www.aiche.org/giving/.
About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.