The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Sangeeta N. Bhatia, MD, PhD

Photo credit: Justin Knight

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

Director, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine

Member, Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


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

Photo credit: Justin Knight

"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 and to develop nanotechnology for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer."

Professor Bhatia earned her master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and an MD/ PhD from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, before conducting post-doctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1999, returning to MIT in 2005. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Bhatia received the 2015 Heinz Award for Technology, Economy + 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" — and the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal. She also was named a Merkin Fellow of the Broad Institute. In addition to her MIT appointments, Professor Bhatia is an affiliated faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, a member of the Broad Institute, an elected member of the Corporation of Brown University, and a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. In 2016, she became the inaugural scientific director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the Koch Institute.

Research Summary

Research in the Bhatia laboratory is dedicated to leveraging miniaturization tools from the world of engineering to improve human health. Using micro and nanotechnologies, also called "tiny technologies," the lab aims to interface living and synthetic systems to improve medical diagnostics, as well as drug delivery, tissue regeneration, and disease modeling. In particular, Professor Bhatia is working to develop nanotechnology for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and to improve therapies for liver disease. Her multidisciplinary team has developed a broad range of impactful inventions, including various nanomaterials that can be used to detect, monitor, or treat cancer and other diseases. For example, nanosensors designed by Professor Bhatia and her team can detect and profile tumors — even at very early stages — and can be analyzed via a simple urine test. This technology may also yield insights into a tumor's response to certain therapies. Additionally, the lab has created human microlivers, which model human drug metabolism, liver disease, and interaction with pathogens.

For more information about Professor Bhatia’s research, please visit the Bhatia lab webpage.

Selected Publications

Kwon EJ, Dudani JS, Bhatia SN. 2017. Ultrasensitive tumour-penetrating nanosensors of protease activity. Nature Biomedical Engineering 1: s41551-17-54–17.

Stevens KR, Scull MA, Ramanan V, Fortin CL, Chaturvedi RR, Knouse KA, Xiao JW, Fung C, Mirabella T, Chen AX, et al. 2017. In situ expansion of engineered human liver tissue in a mouse model of chronic liver disease. Sci Transl Med 9.

Schuerle S, Dudani JS, Christiansen MG, Anikeeva P, Bhatia SN. 2016. Magnetically Actuated Protease Sensors for in Vivo Tumor Profiling. Nano Lett 16: 6303–6310.

Jain PK, Ramanan V, Schepers AG, Dalvie NS, Panda A, Fleming HE, Bhatia SN. 2016. Development of Light-Activated CRISPR Using Guide RNAs with Photocleavable Protectors. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 55: 12440–12444.

Din MO, Danino T, Prindle A, Skalak M, Selimkhanov J, Allen K, Julio E, Atolia E, Tsimring LS, Bhatia SN, et al. 2016. Synchronized cycles of bacterial lysis for in vivo delivery. Nature 536: 81–85.

Kwon EJ, Skalak M, Lo Bu R, Bhatia SN. 2016. Neuron-Targeted Nanoparticle for siRNA Delivery to Traumatic Brain Injuries. ACS Nano 10: 7926–7933.

Dudani JS, Jain PK, Kwong GA, Stevens KR, Bhatia SN. 2015. Photoactivated Spatiotemporally-Responsive Nanosensors of in Vivo Protease Activity. ACS Nano 9: 11708–11717.

Danino T, Prindle A, Kwong GA, Skalak M, Li H, Allen K, Hasty J, Bhatia SN. 2015. Programmable probiotics for detection of cancer in urine. Sci Transl Med 7: 289ra84.

March S, Ramanan V, Trehan K, Ng S, Galstian A, Gural N, Scull MA, Shlomai A, Mota MM, Fleming HE, et al. 2015. Micropatterned coculture of primary human hepatocytes and supportive cells for the study of hepatotropic pathogens. Nat Protoc 10: 2027–2053.

Reticker-Flynn NE, Bhatia SN. 2015. Aberrant glycosylation promotes lung cancer metastasis through adhesion to galectins in the metastatic niche. Cancer Discov 5: 168–181.

Kwong GA, von Maltzahn G, Murugappan G, Abudayyeh O, Mo S, Papayannopoulos IA, Sverdlov DY, Liu SB, Warren AD, Popov Y, et al. 2013. Mass-encoded synthetic biomarkers for multiplexed urinary monitoring of disease. Nat Biotechnol 31: 63–70.

Ren Y, Cheung HW, von Maltzhan G, Agrawal A, Cowley GS, Weir BA, Boehm JS, Tamayo P, Karst AM, Liu JF, et al. 2012. Targeted tumor-penetrating siRNA nanocomplexes for credentialing the ovarian cancer oncogene ID4. Sci Transl Med 4: 147ra112.

von Maltzahn G, Park J-H, Lin KY, Singh N, Schwöppe C, Mesters R, Berdel WE, Ruoslahti E, Sailor MJ, Bhatia SN. 2011. Nanoparticles that communicate in vivo to amplify tumour targeting. Nat Mater 10: 545–552.

Complete list of Publications

Contact Information

Sangeeta N. Bhatia

room 76-453
phone (617) 253-0893

Bhatia Lab

phone (617) 324-0610
fax (617) 324-0740

Administrative Assistant:

Sue Kangiser
phone (617) 253-0893