Sunday October 21, 2018
Home Science & Technology Indian origin...

Indian origin scientist Sangeeta Bhatia wins $250,000 Heinz Prize

0
//
80
Republish
Reprint
sangeeta-bhatia-mit-headshot_0
Photo Courtesy: Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies

 

By Newsram Staff Writer

An Indian-origin scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been honored with a prestigious 250,000 dollars Heinz award for her work in tissue engineering and disease detection.

Sangeeta Bhatia, who is John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, has been chosen for the 2015 Heinz Award for her seminal work in tissue engineering and disease detection. The $250,000 award recognized her passion for promoting women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The Heinz Awards, each year, acknowledges individuals for their extraordinary contributions to arts and humanities, human condition, environment, technology, economy, public policy and employment.

Bhatia’s team pioneered the fabrication of artificial human microlivers, which are being used by many biopharmaceutical companies to test the toxicity of drug candidates,” a news portal said.

Bhatia is also using microlivers in the lab to model malaria infection and test drugs that can eradicate malaria parasites completely — even the parasite reservoirs that remain in the liver after a patient’s symptoms subside. The young scientist hopes to eventually develop implantable liver tissue as a complement or substitute for whole-organ transplant.

Talking about the award, Bhatia said, “This type of recognition helps to bring science into the public eye so that everyone can appreciate the dedication and innovation that is happening in laboratories all over the country.”

“In her study of cancer and the tumor microenvironment, Bhatia and her laboratory have developed synthetic biomarkers that pave the way for simple, low-cost cancer diagnostics. Their engineered nanoparticles interact with tumor proteins in the body and release hundreds of these biomarkers, which can be detected in urine. One application relies on a paper-strip urine test that can reveal the presence of cancer within minutes in mouse models. This point-of-care, low-budget technology holds great promise for earlier cancer detection in the developing world and other settings with limited medical infrastructure.” the MIT news said.

Bhatia who is a graduate from MIT, also was a part of Keys to Empowering Youth (KEYs) program that connects middle school girls with science and engineering through hands-on activities and mentorship from MIT students.

“I’m hopeful that the visibility associated with this award can inspire young girls by showing them what a rewarding profession – and life – STEM can yield,” she added.

Bhatia will be honored with the prestigious award on May 13 at a ceremony in Pittsburgh.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

A One-Shot Nanoparticle Vaccine for Polio is Developed by MIT scientists

A novel single-shot nanoparticle vaccine developed by MIT researchers could assist efforts to eradicate polio worldwide. Currently, two to four polio vaccine injections are required to build up immunity, and because of the difficulty in reaching children in remote areas, the disease still prevails.

0
vaccine, wikimedia

A novel single-shot nanoparticle vaccine developed by MIT researchers could assist efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

Currently, two to four polio vaccine injections are required to build up immunity, and because of the difficulty in reaching children in remote areas, the disease still prevails.

The novel vaccine delivers multiple doses in just one injection to prevent the paralysis caused by the polio virus.

“Having a one-shot vaccine that can elicit full protection could be very valuable in being able to achieve eradication,” said Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Cambridge, US.

“Children in some of these hard-to-reach developing world locations tend to not get the full series of shots necessary for protection. The goal is to ensure that everyone globally is immunized,” Jaklenec added, in a paper appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To create a single-injection vaccine, the team encapsulated the inactivated polio vaccine in a biodegradable polymer known as PLGA.

polio
An Afghan child looks on as a health worker administers polio vaccine .

This polymer can be designed to degrade after a certain period of time, allowing the researchers to control when the vaccine is released.

The researchers designed particles that would deliver an initial burst at the time of injection, followed by a second release about 25 days later.

They injected the particles into rats, and found that the blood samples from rats immunised with the single-injection particle vaccine had an antibody response against polio virus just as strong as, or stronger than, antibodies from rats that received two injections of Salk polio vaccine — the first polio vaccine, developed in the 1950s.

Furthermore, the researchers said that they could design vaccines that deliver more than two doses, each a month apart and hope to soon be able to test the vaccines in clinical trials.

Also Read: Parents More Worried About the Vaccines Rather Than the Disease

They are also working to apply this approach to create stable, single-injection vaccines for other viruses such as Ebola and HIV. (IANS)