55 St. George Street
Irving O. Shoichet Distinguished Lecture
Host: Molly Shoichet
Our laboratory studies how micro- and nanoscale systems can be deployed to understand, diagnose, and treat human disease. In this talk, I will describe our progress in two application areas: liver disease and cancer. In the area of hepatic tissue engineering, we are developing microtechnology tools to understand how ensembles of cells coordinate to produce tissues with emergent properties in the body. We have used this understanding to fabricate human microliver tissues in both ‘2D’ and ‘3D’ formats that enable us to study the pathogenesis drug-drug interactions, hepatotropic pathogens, and regeneration.
In the area of cancer, we are developing nanotechnology tools to meet the challenge of delivering cargo into the tumor microenvironment where transport is dominated by diffusion. Our strategy is to design nanotechnologies which emulate nature’s mechanisms of homing, activation, and amplification to deliver cytotoxic drugs, diagnostic tools, imaging agents, and siRNA to tumors. Thus, using nature as a guide, we are establishing a framework for building systems from micro- and nanoscale components that function collectively to treat human disease.
Sangeeta Bhatia is a biomedical researcher, MIT professor, and biotech entrepreneur who works to adapt technologies developed in the computer industry for medical innovation. Trained as both a physician and engineer at Harvard, MIT, and Brown University, Bhatia leverages ‘tiny technologies’ of miniaturization to yield inventions such as human microlivers that model human drug metabolism and liver disease, as well as responsive nanoparticles and nanoporous materials that can be engineered to diagnose, study, and treat a variety of diseases, including cancer. She and her trainees have launched multiple biotechnology companies to improve human health. As a prolific inventor and passionate advocate for diversity in science and engineering, Bhatia has received many honors including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, known as the ‘Oscar for inventors,’ and the Heinz Medal for groundbreaking inventions and advocacy for women in STEM fields. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Academy of Inventors, and Brown University’s Board of Trustees.
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