Sarah Erickson-Bhatt: Bridge to a breakthrough
When Sarah Erickson-Bhatt lost her mother to breast cancer before she began undergraduate study in 2001, the physics student determined that fighting cancer would become her life’s work.
The question of “how” emerged when she joined the biomedical engineering PhD program at Florida International University. There, she encountered a remarkable technology called optical imaging, which uses harmless near-infrared light to detect and diagnose disease, including breast cancer.
For the past decade, she has been working to perfect this technology and create applications that could save lives.
Today, as a new Morgridge Institute for Research postdoctoral fellow in medical engineering, Erickson-Bhatt is taking her work full-circle. Having devoted great energy to the technical issues of building instruments, she now will expand her knowledge on the biological underpinnings of cancer.
“I wanted to learn more about breast cancer itself and cancer biology,” says Erickson-Bhatt, who joined Morgridge this summer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “How can we use these technologies to study the fundamental biology, and not just determine whether cancer is there or not?”