Sangeeta N. Bhatia

Sangeeta N. Bhatia (photo: Robert E. Klein/AP, © HHMI)

John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

Director, Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

M.D. 1999, Harvard Medical School

Ph.D. 1997, MIT


KI Research Areas of Focus:
Nano-based Drugs,
Detection + Monitoring

"Our laboratory conducts research at the intersection of engineering, medicine, and biology to develop novel platforms for understanding, diagnosing and treating human disease. Our long-term goals are to improve cellular therapies for liver disease, develop microtechnology tools to systematically study living cells, and design multifunctional nanomaterial systems which assemble and communicate to interrogate and coordinately treat cancer. We have developed technologies for interfacing living cells with synthetic systems, enabling new applications in tissue regeneration, stem cell differentiation, medical diagnostics and drug delivery. One such platform applies microfabrication technologies used in semiconductor manufacturing to organize cells of different types to produce a tissue with emergent properties. These efforts have produced human microlivers which model human drug metabolism, drug-induced liver disease, and interaction with human pathogens, thereby establishing high-throughput models that are being used for drug testing, discovery, and tissue engineering applications. We are also involved in a multidisciplinary effort to develop nanomaterials as tools for biological studies and as multifunctional agents for cancer therapies. By bridging the unique electromagnetic properties of nanomaterials with advances in bioconjugate chemistry, photonics, and phage display we aim to develop ‘intelligent' systems for tumor therapy and biomolecular detection. Our interest centers around nanoparticles and nanoporous materials that can be designed to perform complex tasks such as home to a tumor, sense changes in cells and tissues, enhance imaging, recruit complementary nanoparticles and signal pathways, and trigger the release of a targeted, therapeutic payload.”

Learn more about the work the Bhatia Lab is doing to use micro and nanotechnologies to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy by watching this video: "Inside the Lab: Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D."

The Bhatia Lab's work is profiled as part of the current interactive exhibits in the Koch Institute Public Galleries.  Watch a web version of the story here.

Trained as both a physician and engineer, Dr. Bhatia has pioneered technologies for interfacing living cells with synthetic systems, enabling new applications in tissue regeneration, stem cell differentiation, medical diagnostics and drug delivery. Her multidisciplinary team has developed a broad and impactful range of inventions, including human micro livers which model human drug metabolism, liver disease, and interaction with pathogens, and a suite of communicating nanomaterials that can be used to interrogate, monitor and treat cancer and other diseases. Her work has been profiled broadly such as in Scientific American, the Boston Globe, Popular Science, Forbes, PBS’s NOVA scienceNOW, The Economist, and MSNBC.

Dr. Bhatia trained at Brown, MIT, Harvard, and MGH. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and she is a fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. She has been awarded the 2015 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the 2014 Lemelson-MIT Prize; the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship given to “the nation’s most promising young professors in science and engineering;” the NSF CAREER Award; the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the Young Investigator Award of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology; and the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal. She also was named a Merkin Fellow of the Broad Institute.

As a passionate mentor and advocate for diversity in science and engineering, she has been the recipient of the Harvard Medical School Diversity Award and the Harvard-MIT Thomas McMahon Mentoring Award. She co-authored the first undergraduate textbook on tissue engineering and is a frequent advisor to governmental organizations on nanobiotechnology, biomedical microsystems, and tissue engineering.

She and her over 150 trainees have contributed to more than 40 issued or pending patents and launched 10 biotechnology companies with 70+ commercial products at the intersection of medicine and miniaturization. She has published more than 150 manuscripts which have been cited a total of over 14,500 times. Prior to her position at MIT, she held a tenured position at UCSD, and has worked in industry at Pfizer, Genetics Institute, ICI Pharmaceuticals, and Organogenesis.

Further Information

Selected Publications