Foresight Student Awardee named Top 35 Innovator by Tech Review

In only six years, Harvard/MIT’s Anita Goel has gone from winning the 1999 Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award for her work in nanotech, to founding Nanobiosym and being named one of world’s top 35 Young Scientific Innovators by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine. Can we pick ’em or what? Come to this year’s Feynman Prize Banquet and meet the rising nanotech star of tomorrow (not to mention the Feynman Prize winners and Communication Prize winners as well!)

Press Release
15 Sep 2005

Nanobiosym, Inc. Founder Dr. Anita Goel Named One of World’s Top 35 Young Scientific Innovators by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine

Anita Goel, Ph.D., M.D., the Founder and CEO of Nanobiosym, Inc., has been recognized by MIT’s Technology Review magazine as one of the world’s top 35 scientific and technology innovators under the age of 35, with the citation:

“[The TR35] are inventors and discoverers and entrepreneurs. They gravitate to the most interesting and difficult scientific and engineering problems at hand, and arrive at solutions no one had imagined.”

The honorees – all under age 35 – were selected by a prestigious panel of leading scientists, technology experts, and business leaders for their potential to profoundly impact the world. This year only 35 awardees were chosen worldwide for this honor, whittled down from 100 as in previous years. As described by Technology Review Editor-in-Chief Jason Pontin, “The TR35 is among the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on a young innovator.” 

The panel recognized Dr. Goel’s scientific and technological contributions at the interface of physics, biomedicine and nanotechnology.  Trained as both a physicist and physician, Dr. Goel, who earned a PhD in Physics from Harvard University and an MD from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), has conducted research at the interface of these two disciplines for over ten years.  By harnessing both theoretical concepts and experimental technologies from modern physics, she probes, at the single molecule level, the dynamics of molecular motors that read and write the information stored in DNA. 

Dr. Henry Baltes, a Distinguished Professor of Physics at ETH Zurich and a renowned microsensor expert who co-founded SENSIRION, Inc, describes her as “doing some of the most exciting work in biophysics and nanobiotechnology today; someone who I predict will fundamentally be carving out the landscape of this field in the years to come.”

While still completing her clinical rotations with the Harvard-MIT Joint Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Dr. Goel founded Nanobiosym, Inc. and secured special US DOD funding to harness emerging nanoscale technologies to enable novel biosensors for pathogen detection and biowarfare defense.

Dr. Goel has recently been awarded two rounds of funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research to develop platform nanobiotechnologies at Nanobiosym. In the words of her DARPA Program Manager Dr. Anantha Krishnan, “DARPA is an agency that funds extremely innovative high-risk, high-reward research to accelerate the realization of disruptive technologies” and the capabilities developed by Dr. Goel at Nanobiosym “could potentially revolutionize the fields of pathogen sensing/detection, energy harvesting, and bio-molecular computation.” 

Nanobiosym is currently applying this platform nanobiotechnology to develop extremely accurate, inexpensive handheld diagnostic and biodefense devices.  This revolutionary product, dubbed Gene-RADAR™, will bring rapid, accurate, robust pathogen identification capabilities to clinics, battlefields and the homeland.  The product will also address the pressing health needs of the developing world, with low per-unit costs, portability, ease-of-use, and environmental robustness. “Although Anita’s research has focused on fundamental aspects of nano-biotechnology, she has been extremely active in striking up collaborations with private companies and national laboratories in attempting to transition this technology to meet commercial and national security needs,” stated her sponsoring DARPA Program Manager Dr. Anantha Krishnan.

In addition to her corporate roles, Dr. Goel maintains strong academic ties.  In addition to being an Associate of the Harvard Physics Department, she is a Fellow of the World Technology Network and a Fellow-at-Large at the Santa Fe Institute.  Dr. Goel also serves on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of India-Nano, an organization devoted to bridging breakthrough advances in nanoscience with the burgeoning Indian nanotech sector.

At only 32, Dr. Goel is well-poised to bring disruptive nanobiotechnology products to market and to create a scientific impact on both physics and biomedicine at the nanoscale.  In describing the impact of Dr. Goel’s work, Dr Krishnan said, “If this indeed this is the century of biology and biotechnology, as many leading scientific thinkers are predicting, Anita’s work is going to provide one of the key underpinnings for the coming revolution.” 

About Nanobiosym Inc:
Anita Goel, Founder and CEO – 2004
Trained as both a physicist and a physician, Dr. Anita Goel is the founder and CEO of Nanobiosym, Inc. By harnessing both theoretical concepts and experimental technologies from modern physics, she probes, the physics of living systems at the single molecule level. Funded by the US DOD and DARPA, Dr. Goel founded Nanobiosym, Inc. to harness key nanoscale capabilities to develop next-generation biosensors for pathogen detection.

TR35 Awards:
Anita Goel, 32
Nanobiosym Inc.

Building novel pathogen detectors
Trained at Harvard and MIT as both a physicist and physician Dr. Anita Goel finds inspiration in the tiny: the proteins that inch their way along DNA, reading and copying the genes inside every cell. While working on her medical degree at Harvard, she founded Nanobiosym in 2004 to develop nanotech devices that could detect viruses and bacteria in, say, a blood sample more rapidly, accurately, and cheaply than current techniques can. Her goal: a low-cost, handheld device for biodefense and biomedical applications.

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