Charles Cooney

Faculty Director

Charles L. Cooney is the Robert T. Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering in the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering and the founding Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.

In this latter role, Professor Cooney works with the center’s Executive Director to define the center’s strategy for fostering innovation and spurring new-company formation from MIT research, and plays a key role in the grant selection process.

Professor Cooney also serves as the Center’s liaison to the MIT academic community, and senior leadership sitting on faculty and academic committees.  Additionally, he is closely involved in external innovation initiatives. For example, he is the Faculty Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the MIT/Skoltech program in Russia.

Research and Teaching Focus
Professor Cooney's research and teaching activities, which span a range of topics in biochemical engineering and pharmaceutical manufacturing, make him eminently qualified for his Deshpande Center role. He has published over 250 research papers, holds over 25 patents and has co-authored or edited five books including Development of Sustainable Bioprocesses: Modeling and Assessment (Wiley Press 2006). Key areas of interest include manufacturing in the pharmaceutical, biotech and biofuels industries; bioprocess design, operation and control; and processing of pharmaceutical powders. As faculty director of the Deshpande Center, he is interested in the process of stimulating technological innovation and translating innovation into the creation of new ventures.

Among his many honors, Professor Cooney has received the 1989 Gold Medal of the Institute of Biotechnological Studies (London); the Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; and the James Van Lanen Distinguished Service Award from the American Chemical Society's Division of Microbial and Biochemical Technology. He was elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biochemical Engineers and in 2009 was elected to the first class of American Chemical Society Fellows. In July 2012 he was awarded Honoris Causa by Ramon Llull University in Barcelona.

Consulting, Editorial and Board Roles
Professor Cooney serves as a consultant to a number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, is on the editorial boards of multiple professional journals, sits on the Boards of Directors of Polypore International, Inc., LS9, Inc., Mitra (India), GreenLight Bioscience, Prontria, Inc. and Biocon, Ltd (India) and was previously on the Boards of Genzyme, Cuno, Inc., Pall Corp. and Astra AB. He chaired the FDA Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science from 2004-2006. 

He received his Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (1966) and his Master's (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) degrees in Biochemical Engineering from MIT.  After a short post-doctoral time at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research, he joined the MIT faculty in 1970 as an Assistant Professor and became a full Professor in 1982.

Personal Interests
Professor Cooney is a Trustee Emeriti of Boston Ballet, and an Overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other interests include rock climbing, skiing, high altitude mountaineering (with assents of Denali, Ama Dablam, Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, and Huascaran), scuba diving and antique map collecting.