By Sonia K. González, DrPH, MPH
Khatija is the CEO at BioSapien, 3D printing biotechnology company, which is currently developing two provisionally patented products. Outside of the business, Khatija is an Associate Professor/lecturer at multiple colleges and universities in Brooklyn, NY including CUNY, SUNY Downstate and OUM in Australia. Her aim is to provide the field of medicine and life science with new and innovating ideas. Khatija is also involved in non-profit work involving rural schools in Northern Pakistan.
At the age of 18, I was a Philosophy major with absolutely no interest in medicine or science until my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. After two different rounds of chemotherapy over a course of 2 years, a trip to China and endless wheatgrass later; he passed away when I was 21. I decided at that time to pursue medicine. In medical school, I was always fascinated by biochemistry and the physiology of how the body works. It’s an elegant machine that is composed of millions of different moving parts at the same time on an atomically level. I wanted to take this understanding and apply it to the innovation aspect of medicine and impact thousands of lives for generations to come. BioSapien came into existence on that very notion unofficially in the winter of 2017. The initial project was concerning a 3D printed biodegradable blood vessel encapsulated by human iPSCs. I worked on that project for the first year and half, learning at McMaster University and then harvesting cells of at the Princeton Innovation Center. During this process, while conducting research at McMaster University’s Dept of Vascular Surgery on a meta-analysis of antibiotic beads, I realized the potential application of the similar concept in drug delivery. I dove deep into the concept of 3D printed drug delivery mechanisms and placed a patent on it.
It always takes twice the time, twice the money, and twice the patience than you think.