AIChE Awards Its 2023 Langer Prize Fellowship to Albert J. Keung of North Carolina State University

Grant from chemical engineering society will support research on the data-storage potential of DNA

NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will present its 2023 Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence to Albert J. Keung, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University. The fellowship — which is endowed by the AIChE Foundation — is named for biomedical pioneer Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Langer Prize awards an unrestricted grant of up to $100,000 to enable creative researchers and engineering entrepreneurs in their early careers to pursue potentially game-changing innovations with transformative societal impact.

Dr. Keung — who is pursuing the use of modified DNA as a substrate for data storage — will receive the Langer Prize and present an associated lecture on Monday, November 6, during the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting, taking place November 5–10 in Orlando, Florida.

Kristi Anseth, the Tisone Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado and Chair of the Langer Prize selection committee, said, “We were impressed by Dr. Keung’s exceptional record of achievements and his creative approaches to solve important problems. The proposed technology is innovative and should help unlock the storage potential of DNA.”

In acknowledging the Langer Prize honor, Keung said, “I am very thankful for this fellowship program, and for its camaraderie and resources, to help accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. I am also thankful for the trainees in my group and the collaborators that have led us to this point in developing technologies. I’m also excited about how the fellowship can help move forward their legacies and involvement in entrepreneurship as well.”

Keung’s research group at the University of North Carolina is studying how information is stored and accessed in biological systems. The team focuses on the engineering of DNA, which is already being used as the information substrate in engineering molecular diagnostics, as well as for the production of biofuels, cancer immunotherapies, and vaccines. Keung’s team sees potential beyond these applications, including the use of DNA to address challenges in data storage and computation, programmable materials, and climate mitigation. To that end, Keung co-founded DNAli Data Technologies, Inc., with a mission to drive the expansion of a DNA-based economy. Among the technologies that Keung has licensed to DNAli Data Technologies, a key technology is the modification of DNA oligos created through sustainable enzymatic synthesis. Keung will discuss this work in his Langer Prize lecture on November 6.

Albert Keung has previously been recognized with the National Institutes of Health’s Avenir Award, the American Chemical Society’s Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award, the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, and the Goodnight Early Career Innovator Award, among others.

He is a chemical engineering alumnus of Stanford University and the University of California. Berkeley, and he was a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Information about the Langer Prize fellowship, including the application process, is available at The deadline for 2024 fellowship applications is February 15, 2024.

To learn about the endowment campaign for the Langer Prize, contact Lisa Lanzkowsky at

About AIChE — The Global Home of Chemical Engineers
AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 chemical engineers in 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 frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at

Contact: Gordon Ellis