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 is being commercialized and has garnered FDA approval, and is co-founder of Rover Diagnostics which is developing rapid and low-cost detection of DNA and RNA. 

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.


  • 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


  • S.Y. Chin, Y.C. Poh, A. Kohler, J.T. Compton, L.L. Hsu, K.M. Lau, S. Kim, B.W. Lee, F.Y. Lee and S.K. Sia, “Additive manufacturing of hydrogel-based materials for next-generation implantable medical devices”, Science Robotics, eaah6451 (2017).
  • N. Tejavibulya and *S.K. Sia, “Personalized Disease Models on a Chip”, Cell Systems, 3(5):416-418 (2016).
  • S. Nayak, N.R. Blumenfeld, T. Laksanasopin, and S.K. Sia, "Point-of-Care Diagnostics: Recent Developments in a Connected Age.", Anal.  Chem., 89:102-123 (2017).
  • S. Nayak, A. Sridhara, R. Melo, L. Richer, N.H. Chee, J. Kim, V. Linder, D. Steinmiller, S.K. Sia, M.Gomes-Solecki, “Microfluidics-based point-of-care test for serodiagnosis of Lyme Disease”, Scientific Reports Volume 6, Article number: 35069 (2016).
  • O. Ordeig, S.Y. Chin, S. Kim, P.V. Chitnis, S.K. Sia, “An implantable compound-releasing capsule triggered on demand by ultrasound”, Scientific Reports, 6:22803 (2016).
  • S.K. Sia, M.P. Owens, “Share and share alike”, Nature  Biotechnology, 33:1224-1228 (2015).
  • T. Guo, R. Patnaik, K. Kuhlmann, A.J. Rai, S.K. Sia, “Smartphone dongle for simultaneous measurement of hemoglobin concentration and detection of HIV antibodies”, Lab on a Chip,  15:3514-20 (2015).
  • T. Laksanasopin et al, “A smartphone dongle for diagnosis of infectious diseases at the point of care”, Science Translational Medicine, 7, 273re1- 9 (2015).
  • C.D. Chin, Y.K. Cheung, T. Laksanasopin, M.M. Modena, S.Y. Chin, A.A. Sridhara, D. Steinmiller, V. Linder, J. Mushingantahe,  G. Umviligihozo, E. Karita, L. Mwambarangwe,  S.L. Braunstein, J. van de Wijgert, R. Sahabo, J.E. Justman, W. El-Sadr, S.K. Sia, “Mobile device for disease diagnosis and data tracking in resource-limited  settings”, Clin. Chem., 59, 629-640 (2013).
  • G. Eng, B.W. Lee, H. Parsa, C.D. Chin, J. Schneider, G. Linkov, S.K. Sia, G. Vunjak-Novakovic, “Assembly of complex cell microenvironments using geometrically docked hydrogel shapes”, Proc.  Natl. Acad.  Sci., 110, 4551-4556 (2013).
  • C.D. Chin, V. Linder, and S.K.Sia, “Commercialization of microfluidic point-of-care diagnostic devices”, Lab on a Chip  (2012).  [single most cited article in Lab Chip in 2013]
  • C.D. Chin, T. Laksanasopin, Y.K. Cheung, D. Steinmiller, V. Linder, H. Parsa, J. Wang, H. Moore, R. Rouse, G. Umviligihozo, E. Karita, L. Mwamarangwe,  S. Braunstein, J. van de Wijgert, R. Sahabo, J. Justman, W. El-Sadr and S.K. Sia, "Microfluidics-based diagnostics of infectious diseases in the developing world", Nature  Medicine, 17, 1015–1019 (2011).