Arup K. Chakraborty, a chemical engineer from MIT, has been named as the Institute Professors, the highest honor bestowed upon MIT faculty members.
Arup K. Chakraborty, the founding director of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), is a pioneer in applying computational techniques to challenges in the field of immunology, including vaccine development.
Along with him, Paula Hammond, was also bestowed with this title. Hammond, who chairs MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, is renowned for her work in developing novel polymers and nanomaterials.
“At MIT, the distinction of Institute Professor designates the best of the best — and that is exactly how I would describe Paula Hammond and Arup Chakraborty,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif.
“Arup is perhaps best known as the visionary founding director of IMES and, of course, for his seminal contributions toward the development of a vaccine for HIV. I have always admired his extraordinary ability to explain complex issues — across a range of disciplines — with precision and clarity. Paula and Arup are great ambassadors for the Institute and our community. More than that, they are among MIT’s finest citizens.”
The appointments were announced today in an email to the faculty from Provost Martin Schmidt and chair of the faculty Rick Danheiser. With the addition of Hammond and Chakraborty, there are now 12 Institute Professors, as well as 10 Institute Professors Emeriti. The new appointments will take effect July 1.
At the University of California at Berkeley, where he began his faculty career, Chakraborty pioneered the integration of quantum chemical calculations with macroscopic approaches in chemical engineering. For over two decades, much of his work has focused on developing and applying approaches rooted in statistical physics to tackle questions in immunology.
His research also led to new insights of why humans with certain genes can control HIV infections more efficiently while also being prone to autoimmune diseases. Chakraborty’s work on virus evolution and T cell and antibody responses to infection and vaccination (with a professor of biological engineering Darrell Irvine and others) has led him to design novel immunogens for the T cell component of an HIV vaccine that is now in preclinical trials.
Chakraborty is the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering and a professor in the departments of physics and chemistry, and founding director of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.
Chakraborty earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, then earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. He was a postdoc at the University of Minnesota before he began his faculty career.