Marcela Bilek, 35
Designs coatings to improve implanted medical devices and industrial tools
University of Sydney
Someday soon, Marcela Bilek’s work may be dear to people’s heart. The University of Sydney physics professor has designed microscopically this coatings that enable glass, metal, and other materials to interact more safely with the human body and perform better in industrial settings. One low-friction coating, currently in animal trials, protects the blood-contacting surfaces on implantable medical devices, such as the temporary heart pumps used by heart failure patients. Bilek’s coatings may also have significant industrial applications. Recent tests have shown that they can extend tenfold the life of high-speed cutting implements used by automakers. Having earned an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Bilek feels comfortable predicting that her coatings could save manufacturers millions of dollars in tool replacement costs. She is also studying how her coatings might improve diagnostic instruments used in medicine.