Inventor and entrepreneur Sangeeta Bhatia combines engineering, medicine, and biology to study, diagnose, and treat disease.

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You know, I think I didn’t, I didn’t actually think of myself as an inventor for a long time, which is funny because now I’m a mom, and my, my youngest daughter is really inventive, and I say to her all the time, “Oh, you’re a little inventor.”

But no one ever said that to me. Like, no one ever used that word.

I was good at math and science, and I liked to tinker. And I was really creative with my hands. I would craft a lot. But I never really thought of myself as an inventor. 

But as a graduate student, when we had this finding about preserving cells in culture, the night of my Ph.D. defense, my advisor said to me, “Oh my gosh, I think we’d better file this before midnight, you know, in case this is somehow enabling.” And so I actually called from the restaurant, my celebration dinner—you know, in the old days, so there was no cell phones—like, on the phone on the wall, on the pay phone.

I was talking to the patent attorneys filing the first patent, my first patent, which then became actually the foundational patent for this startup that commercialized the work, you know, eight years later.

So that was how I became an inventor, but sort of accidentally, having invented it and not realizing it was an invention. 

Since she was a child, Sangeeta Bhatia has enjoyed figuring out how things work. Now a biomedical researcher, MIT professor, and biotech entrepreneur, she has invented human microlivers to study drug metabolism and liver disease as well as nanoparticles that help diagnose, study, and treat ailments like cancer. She is also a mentor, helping her students understand the importance of protecting their own intellectual property.

Read the full story, published by USPTO as part of the “Journeys of Innovation series” here.
Image and Article from US Patent & Trademark Office