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Sangeeta Bhatia
Sangeeta BhatiaPhoto taken from the website of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

The Lemelson-MIT Program said Tuesday that it is awarding its $500,000 prize to Sangeeta Bhatia, biomedical engineer and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in recognition of her work in designing and commercializing miniaturized technologies that seek to improve human health.

Now in its 20th year, the Lemelson-MIT Prize looks to honor outstanding mid-career inventors improving the world through technological invention and demonstrating a commitment to mentorship in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Bhatia’s research includes work on detecting cancer through a paper urine test.

Bhatia is developing this platform for commercialization with support of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, the Lemelson-MIT press release noted.


Another project involves efforts to build a liver from scratch to fight infectious disease. Bhatia is a cofounder of Hepregen Corp., a Medford-based company that looks to commercialize the liver research developed by Bhatia’s team.

Bhatia is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. She also has a Ph.D. from MIT.

Lemelson-MIT Program describes its mission as celebrating outstanding innovators and inspiring young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention. The program was founded by prolific inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.

“My husband, Jerry, always believed that it was critical to highlight and encourage inventors dedicated to improving the human condition,” Dorothy Lemelson, Lemelson Foundation chair, said in a statement. “Dr. Bhatia is a wonderful example of a woman who has used her brilliance, skill and creativity to radically improve the detection and treatment of serious global health issues. We are proud to recognize her as this year’s Lemelson-MIT Prize winner.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.