Sam Sia

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty Director of SEAS Entrepreneurship, and Vice Provost for the Fourth Purpose and Strategic Impact

351 Engineering Terrace
Mail Code 8904

Tel(212) 854-7549
Fax(212) 854-8725

Samuel Sia develops technologies for point-of-care blood tests, wearable sensors, and implantable devices, both in an academic and industry setting. He co-developed a point-of-care blood test for prostate cancer which has garnered FDA approval, and is co-founder of Rover Diagnostics which is developing rapid and low-cost detection of DNA and RNA. 

Research Interests

Microfluidics, point-of-care diagnostics, wearable sensors, cell-based therapy, implantable devices

Other Interests


Sia’s research has garnered coverage from Nature, Science, JAMA, Washington Post, Science News, Popular Science, Chemical and Engineering News and has been featured on the BBC, NPR, and Voice of America.  MIT Technology Review named him as one of the top’s world young innovators in 2010, and he is an inducted fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Sia is the founder of Harlem Biospace, a biotech incubator facility in New York City (developed with the NYC mayor’s office) that has hosted over 50 biotech companies.  He also currently co-directs the entrepreneurship initiative for Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

In 2022, Sia was appointed Vice Provost for Fourth Purpose and Strategic Impact, a new office within the Provost's Office to advance the University's mission on the Fourth Purpose and make positive impact on the world. In this role, Sia is building University infrastructure and partnerships to help Columbia leverage scholarly knowledge to benefit the public good. The office builds mechanisms for internal collaborations, dissolves institutional barriers to partnerships, and works with external partners to transform innovation to community and global impact.

Sia has a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in Biophysics (with a HHMI predoctoral fellowship) from Harvard University.  He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University.

Listen to Prof. Sia describe his lab's point-of-care diagnostics research on NPR Science Friday.

Prof. Sia is the current chair of the NIH study section Instrumentation and Systems (ISD), until 2024.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, 2002-2005


  • Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2016-Present
  • Faculty Co-Director of Entrepreneurship, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia University, 2014-Present
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2011-2016
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 2005-2011


  • BMEN 4210 - Thermodynamics  of Biological Systems
  • BMEN 4590 - BioMEMS: Cellular and Molecular Applications
  • ENGI 4100 - Research to Revenue (joint class with Columbia Business School)


  • Co-Founder, Harlem Biospace (biotech incubator started with NYC’s Mayor’s Office), 2013
  • Founder and President, Junco Labs, 2009
  • Co-Founder and Chair of Scientific Advisory Board, Claros Diagnostics (sold in 2011 to OPKO Health, NYSE: OPK), 2004-2011


  • Inducted Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2016
  • Thiele Lectureship Award, University of Notre Dame, 2015         
  • Kjeldgaard International Lectures in Molecular Biology, Aarhus Denmark, 2013
  • Runner-up, Wall Street Journal Innovation Award in Medical Devices, 2011
  • NASA Launch, one of ten innovators in human health and sustainability, 2010
  • MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, 2010
  • Invited attendee, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, UC Irvine
  • Wallace H. Coulter Early Career Award Phase II, 2008
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2008
  • Invited participant, National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering, Seattle, 2007
  • Walter H. Coulter Early Career Award, 2006
  • American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, 2006
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship (postdoc), 2004-2005
  • Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2002
  • Delegate, International Achievement Summit, Dublin, Ireland (1 of 200 graduate students in the world from all disciplines chosen to attend), 2002
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship, 1997-2002
  • National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Scholarship B, 1999-2001
  • National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Scholarship A, 1997-1999
  • Dean’s Silver Medal in Science, University of Alberta, 1997
  • Canada Scholar, 1993-1997


  • “Multiplexed reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction using plasmonic nanoparticles for point-of-care COVID-19 diagnosis”, Nature Nanotechnology (2022)
  • “Ultrasound-responsive aqueous two-phase microcapsules for on-demand drug release.”, Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed. (2022)
  • “Hydrogel microfilaments toward intradermal health monitoring.” iScience (2019)  [cover article]
  • “Additive manufacturing of hydrogel-based materials for next-generation implantable medical devices”, Science Robotics (2017)
  • “Personalized disease models on acChip”, Cell Systems (2016)
  • “A smartphone dongle for diagnosis of infectious diseases at the point of care”, Science Translational Medicine (2015)
  • “Share and share alike”, Nature Biotechnology (2015)
  • “Commercialization of microfluidic point-of-care diagnostic devices”, Lab Chip (2012)  [most cited article in Lab Chip in 2013]
  • “Sweet solution to sensing”, Nature Chemistry (2011)
  • “Uncovering the behaviors of individual cells within a multicellular microvascular community”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (2011)
  • "Microfluidics-based diagnostics of infectious diseases in the developing world", Nature Medicine (2011)
  • “In situ collagen assembly to interface 3D microfabricated extracellular matrices”, Nature Materials (2008). [cover article]
  • “Microscale control of stiffness in cell-adhesive substrate using microfluidics-based lithography”, Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed., 48: 7188-7192 (2009)  [cover article]
  • “Lab-on-a-chip devices for global health: past studies and future opportunities”, Lab Chip, 7:41-57 (2007)  [cover article]
  • More publications can be found here: