Ambika Bumb

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Ambika Bumb
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (PhD)
Georgia Institute of Technology (BME)
  • CEO
  • Engineer
  • Scientist
HonorsMarshall Scholar

Ambika Bumb an American biomedical scientist and businessperson.[1] Bumb is a nanomedicine specialist who uses nanotechnology for the detection and treatment of disease. Her discoveries using nanodiamonds while working as postdoctoral researcher at the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute led to the launch of the biotech Bikanta.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Bumb was born to Indian Jain[4] parents who immigrated to the United States for higher education.[5] Her father was one of the earliest in his family to complete his Doctor of Philosophy degree and her mother the first female in her town to go to college.[5] Her maternal grandfather was a veterinarian.[5][4] Bumb graduated from Southside High School as valedictorian in 2002.[citation needed]


Bumb graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a Minor in Economics from Georgia Institute of Technology, while being recognized with the Helen E. Grenga Outstanding Woman Engineer and E. Jo Baker President's Scholar Awards.[6][7] With an early interest in nanomedicine, she conducted research focused on tracking quantum dots in bone and cartilage while also being an active leader in various campus organizations.[citation needed]

In 2008, Bumb completed her doctorate in Medical Engineering in three years from University of Oxford while also on the prestigious Marshall Scholarship and NIH-OxCam Program.[8][9] Her doctoral work brought together 4 labs from 2 institutes, 4 fields, and 2 countries. She developed a triple-reporting nanoparticle and showed the technology's transferability across different disease types with studies in cancer and multiple sclerosis. The magnetic nanoparticles demonstrated strong potential in cancer diagnostics and therapy.[8][10] Upon graduation, she continued to go on to two post-doctoral fellowships at the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.[1]


Her breakthroughs in the areas of nanomedicine and diagnostics have led to multiple patents, publications, and the spin out of the biotech Bikanta[7] that is using nanodiamonds to allow academics and doctors to study and address disease at the cellular level. Nanodiamonds are next generation imaging probes[11] leading research including applications with the recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry for super-resolved fluorescence microscopy and utility in portable cancer detection devices.[12] Bikanta is one of the first biotechs to be funded by Y Combinator, winner of the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture and CapCon Competitions, a California Life Science Institute's FAST Awardee, and named 1 of 4 Best Diagnostics Startups of 2015 by QB3.[13]

As Bikanta prepared to move the technology into clinical trials, the Theranos scandal went public and many investors pulled out of the diagnostics space.[14] Bikanta was unable to raise the funding to proceed with the clinical trials.[15]

Complementary to her scientific and commercial interests, Bumb has also been involved in national science policy initiatives, particularly related to nanotechnology.[16] After Bikanta, Ambika began working as Health Science and Technology Advisor for the Secretary of State in the office of Crisis Management and Strategy in December 2019, where she played a role in the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15]

Bumb was featured as a female role model to empower young girls by Career Girls.[17] She has been appreciated in various interviews, including by Nature at the Naturejobs Career Expo, San Francisco[18][19] and in an interview by WeFunder.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Bumb practices Jainism[5] and has been a dancer from an early age.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Marshall Scholarship[2]
  • The Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni Award - Georgia Institute of Technology[6]
  • Orloff Science Award for Technical Achievement - National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health-Oxford Cambridge Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences
  • Georgia Institute of Technology President's Scholarship
  • Aspen Health Forum Fellow
  • Helen E. Grenga Outstanding Woman Engineer Award
  • E. Jo Baker Award for outstanding President's Scholar
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Outstanding Leadership
  • Women In Engineering Excellence Award
  • Akamai Foundation Award through the Mathematical Association of America
  • Winner of Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit
  • Winner of CapCon Business Competition


  1. ^ Russon, Mary-Ann (August 18, 2014). "Microscopic Diamonds Are Lighting The Way to Early Cancer Detection". International Business Times UK. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "NIH Marshall Scholarships". Marshall Scholarship. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. ^ "All Inventions from Dr. Ambika Bumb". NIH Office of Technology Transfer. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ a b America (YJA), Young Jains of (September 14, 2018). "Meet Ambika Bumb, CEO of Bikanta". Young Jains of America (YJA). Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Ambika Bumb". Young Jain Professionals. November 25, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Rich, Walter (May 13, 2016). "Ambika Bumb and Xavier Lefebvre Honored at the College of Engineering Alumni Awards Induction Ceremony". The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University School of Medicine. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Ambika Bumb - Bikanta - YC Female Founder Stories". YC Female Founder Stories. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  8. ^ a b McCook, Alison (April 20, 2011). "Education: Rethinking PhDs". Nature News. 472 (7343): 280–282. Bibcode:2011Natur.472..280M. doi:10.1038/472280a. PMID 21512549.
  9. ^ Commemoration., Commission, Marshall Aid (2013). Fifty ninth annual report of the marshall aid commemoration commission for. Tso. p. 25. ISBN 978-0108512209. OCLC 925437833.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Vara, Vauhini (August 20, 2014). "Fever Pitch". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Buhr, Sarah (August 7, 2014). "Bikanta's Tiny Diamonds Find Cancer Before It Spreads". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Stories, Local (July 25, 2018). "Meet Ambika Bumb of Bikanta - Voyage ATL Magazine | ATL City Guide". Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  13. ^ "Alliance Appoints Alumni Directors Drs. Bumb and Maciejewski – International Biomedical Alliance". Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  14. ^ Varghese, Sanjana (February 13, 2019). "The spectre of Theranos looms large over the diagnostic world". Wired. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Grant Belgard (March 16, 2021). "Ambika Bumb". The Bioinformatics CRO (Podcast). Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  16. ^ Bumb, Ambika. "A Nano Step For Man, A Giant Leap For Mankind". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  17. ^ Bikanta (April 17, 2017), Ambika Bumb CareerGirls Interview, retrieved December 12, 2017
  18. ^ Leeming, Jack (June 14, 2016). "What's your average day like?". Nature. Archived from the original on December 14, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  19. ^ Leeming, Jack (August 2, 2016). "How to start a startup: Naturejobs Blog". Nature. Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  20. ^ Wefunder (November 18, 2015), Bikanta: Using Nano-Diamonds to Detect Cancer, retrieved December 12, 2017