Nanotechnologist’s Tiny Machines Hold Big Promises for Brain Health
Deblina Sarkar, a nanotechnologist and assistant professor at MIT, is on a mission to tackle devastating neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease using her ultratiny electronic devices. With machines smaller than a mote of dust, Sarkar aims to enter the realm of the brain and make groundbreaking advancements that could potentially save millions of minds.
The Intersection of Electronics and Biology: Sarkar’s Vision for the Future Sarkar’s passion for applying electronics to biological systems has led her to envision a world where nanodevices revolutionize the field of biology. Collaborators and experts hail her as a visionary bridging the gap between electronics and biology. Through her innovative tools, she seeks to transform how we understand and address neurological conditions, ultimately creating a synergy between the two disciplines.
Inspiration from Bold Origins: A Journey of Engineering and Determination Born in Kolkata, India, Sarkar draws inspiration from her parents’ stories. Her mother’s defiance of social norms and her father’s engineering ingenuity fueled her own boldness and passion for science and technology. After earning a degree in electrical engineering, Sarkar pursued nanoelectronics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she made remarkable strides in reducing power consumption in electronics.
From Nanodevices to the Brain: Unveiling the Potential Sarkar’s fascination with the brain as a low-energy computer prompted her to explore ways to merge her expertise in nanoelectronics with the complexities of neural systems. Establishing the Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek group at MIT, she spearheads the development of nanodevices capable of interfacing with living cells and neuromorphic computing devices inspired by the human brain. One of the group’s notable achievements is the Cell Rover, a flat antenna that could monitor processes inside cells and potentially detect misfolded proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
A New Field of Science: Sarkar’s Bold Vision Sarkar’s pioneering work sits at the intersection of nanoelectronics and biology, laying the foundation for a new field of science. With her nanodevices, she aims to enhance brain function, insert devices between neurons to boost computing speed, and explore non-invasive alternatives to traditional surgeries. Sarkar’s groundbreaking research and unwavering dedication have positioned her as one of the SN 10: Scientists to Watch, recognized for her extraordinary contributions to her field.