Prof. Lauffenburger received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to coming to MIT, Prof. Lauffenburger was a professor at the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Lauffenburger has also served as a visiting scientist at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Molecular cell bioengineering is the application of engineering approaches to develop quantitative understanding of cell function in terms of fundamental molecular properties, and to apply this understanding for improved design of molecular- and cell-based technologies. The Lauffenburger research group focuses on elucidating important aspects of receptor-mediated regulation of mammalian blood and tissue cell behavioral functions such as proliferation, adhesion, migration, differentiation, and death. A central paradigm of the group’s work is development and testing of computational models -- based on principles from engineering analysis and synthesis -- for receptor regulation of cell function by exploiting techniques of molecular biology to alter parameters characterizing receptor or ligand properties in well-characterized cell systems. Quantitative experimental assays are used to measure cell functions, receptor/ligand interaction parameters, and signaling network dynamics. Problems are primarily motivated by health care technologies of interest to pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies, and emphasize multi-disciplinary collaborative interactions, including colleagues in both academia and industry.