When it comes to solving complex problems, Geoffrey von Maltzahn, MIT graduate student and biomedical engineer,radar_geoffrey-von-maltzahn_image-1 looks to nature for solutions. Finding inspiration in systems that evolution has produced, von Maltzahn is currently helping to tackle one of society’s biggest challenges: improving tumor detection and therapeutic delivery in order to boost the survival rate of cancer patients.

The 28-year-old Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) received the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for his promising innovations in the area of cancer therapy, specifically two inventions in nanomedicine: a new class of cancer therapeutics and a new paradigm for enhancing drug delivery to tumors.

Working at the confluence of nanotechnology, engineering and medicine, von Maltzahn’s innovations have the potential to reduce side effects and overpower drug resistance mechanisms by more powerfully concentrating external energy and targeted therapeutics in tumors.