Sangeeta N. Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D. (b. 1968) is an Indian American biological engineer and the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Bhatia's research investigates applications of micro- and nano-technology for tissue repair and regeneration.
In 2003, she was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. She was also named a "Scientist to Watch" by The Scientist in 2006, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 2008. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Inventors. Bhatia is the 2014 recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Prize "for her dedication to the next generation of scientists, and groundbreaking inventions to improve human health and patient care on a global scale." Bhatia was awarded the 2015 Heinz Award in the Technology, the Economy and Employment category "for her seminal work in tissue engineering and disease detection, including the cultivation of functional liver cells outside of the human body, and for her passion in promoting the advancement of women in the STEM fields."
Bhatia co-authored the first undergraduate textbook on tissue engineering and was an editor for two books, Microdevices in Biology and Medicine and Biosensing.
Bhatia's parents emigrated from India to Boston, Massachusetts; her father was an engineer and her mother was one of the first women to receive an MBA in India. She was motivated to become an engineer after her 10th grade biology class and a trip with her father into an MIT lab to see a demonstration of an ultrasound machine for cancer treatment.
She studied bioengineering at Brown University where she joined a research group studying artificial organs which convinced her to pursue graduate study the field. After graduating with honors in 1990, Bhatia was initially rejected from the M.D.-Ph.D. program run by the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) but was accepted into the Mechanical Engineering masters program. She was later accepted to the HST M.D.-Ph.D. program where she was advised by Mehmet Toner and Martin Yarmush, received the Ph.D. in 1997 and M.D. in 1999, and completed postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Bhatia joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1999 and rose to the rank of associate professor. While at UCSD, Bhatia was awarded a Packard Fellowship, was named 2001 "Teacher of the Year" in the Bioengineering Department at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and was named a Young Innovator under 35 by Technology Review in 2003. In 2005, she left UCSD and joined the MIT faculty in the Division of Health Sciences & Technology and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Bhatia was named a "Scientist to Watch" by The Scientist in 2006 and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 2008. The Brown University School of Engineering presented Bhatia its in 2011. Bhatia currently directs the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies and is affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
Bhatia has two daughters with her husband, Jagesh Shah.
Dr. Bhatia's research in the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies is focused on the applications of micro- and nanotechnology to tissue repair and regeneration.
Specifically, she studies the interactions between hepatocytes (liver cells) and their microenvironment and develops microfabrication tools to improve cellular therapies for liver disease (Hepatic Tissue Engineering). The goal is to maximize hepatocyte function, facilitate design of effective cellular therapies for liver disease, and improve fundamental understanding of liver physiology and pathophysiology. She is also interested in using arrays of living cells as high-throughput platforms to study fundamental aspects of stem cell biology (Cell-Based BioMEMS) using a diverse repertoire of tools including chemical, topological, fluidic, electrical, and optical manipulation of living cells on chip platforms. Finally, LMRT is involved in a multidisciplinary effort to develop nanomaterials as tools for biological studies and as multifunctional agents for cancer therapies. Interests center 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, and trigger the release of a therapeutic payload. Having had several stints in the biotechnology industry, Dr. Bhatia holds a number of patents for both clinical and biotechnological applications of engineering principles. She is the author of Microfabrication in Tissue Engineering and Bioartificial Organs and co-author of the undergraduate textbook Tissue Engineering.