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Biomedical engineer Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, and her team have built a micro-liver from scratch to fight infections. They have also designed synthetic biomarkers to detect diseases, including cancer, through a paper urine test.
For these innovative discoveries and other groundbreaking work, Bhatia, an associate bioengineer at BWH, has been awarded the 2014 Lemelson-MIT Prize—a $500,000 award that honors outstanding mid-career inventors who have developed a product of significant value to society, geared to improve the world in which we live.
Earlier this month, Bhatia, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, was recognized with the prize, which is celebrating its 20th year, for designing and commercializing miniature technologies with the ability to improve human health.
“We are proud of Dr. Bhatia for this incredible distinction,” said BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD. “Her impact to scientific discovery and improving health extends far and wide, and her commitment to mentorship, diversity and under-resourced communities will continue to advance both science and medicine.”
Bhatia is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a member of its Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a senior associate member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. She is also a passionate advocate for increasing diversity in science and engineering and encouraging young girls and women to pursue the field.
The Lemelson-MIT Prize program was founded by inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy, in 1994.
“My husband, Jerry, always believed that it was critical to highlight and encourage inventors dedicated to improving the human condition,” said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of the Lemelson Foundation, in a statement. “Dr. Bhatia is a wonderful example of a woman who has used her brilliance, skill and creativity to radically improve the detection and treatment of serious global health issues. We are proud to recognize her as this year’s Lemelson-MIT Prize winner.”