Magazine Names Sia a Young Innovator

MIT's Technology Review magazine has named Samuel K. Sia, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, to its prestigious listing of the World's Top Young Innovators for 2010 for his groundbreaking work in biotechnology and medicine.
Selected from more than 300 nominees by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, the TR35 is an elite group of accomplished young innovators who exemplify the spirit of innovation. Their work — spanning medicine, computing, communications, nanotechnology, and more — is changing our world.
Sia is using the powerful techniques of microfluidics to build low-cost handheld devices (see photo at right) for performing sophisticated medical tests on a small microchip. His lab-on-a-chip device is currently being tested in Rwanda to collect and analyze blood tests at a patient’s bedside to diagnose infectious diseases. His team is targeting pregnant mothers who may suffer from AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, but cannot currently be tested due to their remote location.
"Nowhere is the need for new diagnostic technologies greater than in developing countries, where people suffer disproportionately from infectious disease compared to the U.S. and Europe," says Sia. "This is especially true in the case of maternal and child health."
The devices are being developed in a collaboration between Sia’s lab and Claros Diagnostics Inc., a venture capital-backed startup company that Sia co-founded in 2004, as well as the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Sia’s work also focuses on developing new high-resolution tools to control the extracellular environments around cells, in order to study how they interact to form human tissues and organs. His lab uses techniques from a number of different fields, including biochemistry, molecular biology, microfabrication, microfluidics, materials chemistry, and cell and tissue biology.
"Columbia Engineering is proud of Sam Sia’s leading-edge research," said Feniosky Peña-Mora, Dean of The Fu Foundation School for Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. "His innovative work developing novel medical technologies has the potential to revolutionize public health on a global scale. We are proud that his pioneering achievements have taken place at Columbia Engineering and are being widely recognized."
"Each year, Technology Review selects 35 innovators under the age of 35 who we believe are transforming technology. Discovering these amazing young men and women is one of the highlights of the year for us," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. "We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued advancement of technology in their respective fields."
Sia and the other TR35 winners for 2010 will be featured in the September/October issue of Technology Review and online at In addition, the EmTech@MIT 2010 Conference, to be held September 21–23 at MIT, will honor the winners with a dedicated awards ceremony and in a series of "Meet the TR35" presentations.
Additional information about past and present TR35 winners and judges is available at For more information about EmTech@MIT 2010 please visit:
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