Born in Worcester, Massachusetts to Indian immigrant parents, Anita Goel is a world-renowned nanotechnology scientist, entrepreneur, physicist, and physician. At the age of three Goel moved to rural Mississippi where segregation was still very prevalent. During her teenage years, she spent much of her time outside meditating in nature, studying the likes of Tesla, Einstein and Swami Vivekananda. In an interview she says, “I found myself on both an inner and outer quest to discover truth and meaning in the universe, breaking down the silos between my natural curiosity-driven scientific quest to understand the world around me and my deep inner spiritual yearnings and meditations to know Truth and realize the Self,” on her time in Mississippi. She loved math and physics because she felt they provided her a deeper understanding of nature.
After leaving Mississippi, Goel attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and there received her bachelors of science in Physics with Honors and Distinctions. While at Stanford, Goel also founded and chaired, as an undergrad, an international conference and think tank aimed at building hi-tech bridges between developing and developed economies. The conference featured leaders from every area involved including academic, business, socio-political, and humanitarian. Proving she was an exemplary student, Goel immediately began at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Division of Harvard Medical School with an NIH scholarship to do an MD-PhD program. Nine years later, she finished with a masters and a PhD in physics and a medical degree. Her educational history is unmatched.
Following her graduation, Goel started her company, and lifelong project, Nanobiosym. Nanobiosym is the premier company in the field of nanobiophysics, a new science emerging from the holistic alliance of physics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. The company’s goals are to address the world’s biggest problems in health, energy and the environment. Goel’s passion lies with fundamental science, specifically physics of living systems at the nanoscale. She has been able to develop new nanotechnology platforms like Gene-RADAR, a fully portable, chip-based diagnostic platform that can recognize any disease with a drop of blood or saliva. The device does not require any lab time, health care professionals, or electricity. It is being used from rural villages in Africa to the biggest American hospitals; a truly revolutionary invention. She actually first created a prototype for the device with funding from the United States Military, and only after greatly exceeding their expectations she decided to create a low cost version to assist with global health.
As you would expect of such an accomplished scholar, Goel has published a significant amount of work, however her most recent publications have been involving technology, nanobiophysics and the Ebola virus. She has also been invited to speak at numerous events, one of the most prominent being the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, where she advised President Obama on strategy for American innovation and how we can harness nanotechnology to stimulate the US economy. She also spoke at the US Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Innovation to support the reauthorization of $1.5 billion being given to the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative. Her work has also spilled into other fields, such as international affairs. She was invited to chair an event on “Using Science and Technology as a Tool for International Diplomacy.” Her list of awards is almost too long to recount, but it includes: Top 100 Most Influential in Biotech, the Galactic Grant to conduct research on the International Space Station, the USAID Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenges Competition (2013 and 2015), the Nokia Sensing XChallenge Grand Prize (first ever for healthcare), two awards from the Department of Energy and one from the National Science Foundation and many more. In addition to being CEO of her own company she is also: on the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research council, a fellow of the World Technology Network, an adjunct professor at the Beyond Institute for Fundamental Concepts in Physics, a founding member of the global council for the Center of Healthcare Innovation, on the Board of Trustees and Scientific Advisory Board of India-Nano, on the Nanotechnology Advisory Board of Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Scientific Advisory Board of PepsiCo.
She is an incredible woman who has accomplished leaps and bounds more than most, and she continues to challenge herself everyday and create new and innovative ideas that will change the future of healthcare. She also still takes part in meditation, an activity from her childhood that she accredits with the inspiration for her most creative ideas. I end with a quote from Goel, “My one advice is to first find what you’re passionate about, and don’t be afraid to pursue it. Don’t hesitate to think ‘outside-of-the-box’, or bring together different fields, technologies or even industries that traditionally don’t interact with one another. Do not limit yourself to what’s been done in the past, and work passionately to make your vision a reality.”
De Boer, Sacha. Anita Goel. 2010. Flickr, Amsterdam. TedxAmsterdam. Web. 1 May 2016.
“Nanobiosym Distinguished Board of Advisors .” Nanobiosym :: Our Team. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2016.
“DR. ANITA GOEL, MD, PHD.” DR. Anita Goel, MD, PHD. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016.
“Profile: Anita Goel.” TEDMED. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2016.
Dunn, Laura. “Women in Business Q&A: Dr. Anita Goel, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Nanobiosym.”The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 May 2015. Web. 4 May 2016.