Deblina Sarkar

Synthetic Neurobiology
  • Postdoctoral Associate

Deblina Sarkar will join MIT as an assistant professor in July 2019. She will head the Media Lab's new Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek research group. The group will carry out trans-disciplinary research fusing engineering, applied physics, and biology, aiming to bridge the gap between nanotechnology and synthetic biology to develop disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic computation and create new paradigms for human-machine symbiosis.

Sarkar is the inventor of the world’s thinnest channel (six atoms thick) quantum-mechanical transistor, which overcomes fundamental thermal limitations, could lead to energy reduction by more than 75%, and allows dimensional scalability to beyond the silicon-scaling era. Her research also showed for the first time that employment of atomically thin flexible 2D-materials and quantum mechanical transistors can lead to low-power nanoelectronic biosensors with both extremely high sensitivity and the potential for single-molecular detectability—greatly beneficial for wearable/implantable biomedical devices and point-of-care applications.

Apart from low-power electronic computation, Sarkar is also p… View full description

Deblina Sarkar will join MIT as an assistant professor in July 2019. She will head the Media Lab's new Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek research group. The group will carry out trans-disciplinary research fusing engineering, applied physics, and biology, aiming to bridge the gap between nanotechnology and synthetic biology to develop disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic computation and create new paradigms for human-machine symbiosis.

Sarkar is the inventor of the world’s thinnest channel (six atoms thick) quantum-mechanical transistor, which overcomes fundamental thermal limitations, could lead to energy reduction by more than 75%, and allows dimensional scalability to beyond the silicon-scaling era. Her research also showed for the first time that employment of atomically thin flexible 2D-materials and quantum mechanical transistors can lead to low-power nanoelectronic biosensors with both extremely high sensitivity and the potential for single-molecular detectability—greatly beneficial for wearable/implantable biomedical devices and point-of-care applications.

Apart from low-power electronic computation, Sarkar is also passionately curious about biological computational systems—especially the brain—which can be thought of as an ultimate example of a low-power computer. Her present research, as an MIT Translational Fellow and NIH K99 postdoctoral fellow, is focused on developing technologies for better understanding the brain.

Sarkar’s PhD dissertation was honored as one of the top three dissertations throughout the USA and Canada in the field of mathematics, physical sciences, and all departments of engineering by the Council of Graduate Schools. She is the recipient of numerous other awards and recognitions, including the Lancaster Award at UC Santa Barbara for the best PhD Dissertation; the US Presidential Fellowship; Outstanding Doctoral Candidate Fellowship; one of three researchers worldwide to win the prestigious IEEE EDS PhD Fellowship Award in 2011. In 2018, she was named as one of MIT Technology Review’s Top 10 Innovators Under 35 from India and received the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. Her work has led to more than 40 publications to date (citations: 2381, h-index: 21, i-10 index: 27 according to Google Scholar), several of which have appeared in popular press worldwide.

Sarkar received her BTech in electronics engineering at IIT, Dhanbad; her MS and PhD in electrical and computer engineering at UCSB.