Inaugural Frank and Grace Yin Distinguished Lectureship kicks off next spring

In 1997, Frank Yin, MD, PhD, came to Washington University in St. Louis to establish the Department of Biomedical Engineering. During his nearly 16 years as chair, he developed one of the renowned and fastest-growing programs in the country.

Frank and Grace Yin

The department has established the Frank and Grace Yin Distinguished Lectureship in Biomedical Engineering to celebrate the contributions of Yin and his wife, Grace, to the community. Robert S. Langer, ScD, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be the inaugural speaker for the lecture at BME Day April 26, 2016.

"This lectureship is designed to highlight the contributions of truly accomplished researchers in biomedical engineering and biomedical sciences," said Steven C. George, MD, PhD, chair of the department. "We plan to bring in world-renowned speakers who best capture the spirit of excellence and dedication to biomedical engineering that Frank Yin embodied over the course of his career."

During his tenure as the architect and leader of the department, Yin built the program into one consistently ranked in the top 15 in the country. He recruited 18 of the department's 20 full-time faculty, who have annually garnered approximately $10 million in research funding over the past decade. In addition, he obtained a $15 million grant from the Whitaker Foundation that allowed the department to recruit and hire new faculty and launch the building of Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, completed in 2002, as the home base for the growing department. In 2013, he received the Dean's Award — the highest honor bestowed by the dean — for his accomplishments and contributions to the school.

Yin's background in medicine helped the department to establish extensive interactions with faculty and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, which provides students with unique, interdisciplinary research opportunities and mentors in clinical and translational research.

Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor — the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member at MIT — in the Department of Chemical Engineering. With more than 1,300 published articles and more than 1,000 worldwide patents, he is the most cited engineer in history.

Langer has helped to found at least two dozen biotech companies, with targets ranging from cancer drug delivery to hair and skin products. He has received more than 200 major awards. He is one of only four living individuals to have received both the U.S. National Medal of Science and the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Most recently, he received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2015. In addition, he received the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers; the 2008 Millennium Prize, the world's largest technology prize; and the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.

Langer earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1970 and an ScD from MIT in 1974, both in chemical engineering. He holds honorary doctorates from more than 20 universities worldwide.


The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 87 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, more than 900 graduate students and more than 23,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.