AQR Co-Founder Announces Winner of $250K Namesake Prize

The Kabiller Prize, underwritten by AQR’s David Kabiller, this year will recognize MIT’s Robert Langer, a pioneer in nanotechnology.


Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology has announced the second-ever winner of its Kabiller Prize, a $250,000 honor that recognizes researchers who have made exceptional advances in nanotechnology for use in the fields of medicine and biology and is endowed by AQR Capital Management co-founder David Kabiller.

The prize will be awarded to Robert Langer, a professor who runs the Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on Wednesday. It was instituted in 2015 and is awarded every other year. Langer is a renowned researcher in biotechnology, especially in drug delivery systems.

The International Institute for Nanotechnology, the study of life at the atomic or molecular level, brings together chemists, engineers and others from across Northwestern to focus on nanomedicine, nano-oncology and other research areas.

“At this year’s event, we’re recognizing MIT’s Robert Langer, the pioneer of drug delivery technologies,” says Kabiller. “Diagnosing cancer and curing cancers cannot be solved by government funding alone,” he adds. “The private sector has to be involved. Through this event, through this award, we’ll inspire others to get involved,” adds Kabiller, who says his interest in nanotechnology and cancer research also stems from a personal history of wanting to be a doctor.

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Kabiller has also underwritten a prize for academics starting out in the field. “I also want to recognize young investigators,” says Kabiller. “A lot of the best research is done by people in their twenties, who are not wedded to historical ways of doing things. By recognizing people early, we can motivate them to continue to be innovative and establish them among their peers.”

The Kabiller Prize’s first honoree was Joseph DeSimone of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kabiller is an alumnus and trustee of Northwestern. He is also chairman of the executive council of IIN. “The money per se is not going to cure cancer; it’s not enough,” says Kabiller. “But it’s starting a conversation. People need to understand what is being done before they can get involved and give back.”

AQR manages $195 billion in assets.