R&D Technical Team Lead
By: Frank Morris Lopez
Awards & Recognitions:
Innovation Award - Cell and Gene Therapy Team MilliporeSigma, Aug 2020
Spot Award - Cell and Gene Therapy Team MilliporeSigma, Jul 2020
Spot Award - Bio-continuum Process Team MilliporeSigma, Mar 2018
Spot Award - Cell and Gene Therapy Team MilliporeSigma, May 2018
International Merit Scholarship - Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Aug 2011
23 patents registered and pending for inventions within the biological and pharmaceutical sciences
It’s one thing to want to change the world. It’s another to actually have the skills to do that.
Stefano Berti is an engineer who is the main inventor of 23 distinct patents worldwide — devices and methods aimed at providing cures for rare diseases, reducing drug development costs, and accelerating access to better healthcare.
His inventions range from arthroscopic medical devices, biopharma filtration systems, membrane purification materials, and cell concentration and selection devices using acoustics.
“In a nutshell, I enable technologies to basically cure cancer,” Berti said.
Berti is currently the research and development technical team lead in the cell and gene therapy department at Cytvia. He’s also in the process of completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of Colorado Boulder, researching ways to eliminate cancer through CAR-T therapeutics.
So what does that all mean? Essentially, he designs and creates the machines that allow cell therapy to happen. Cell therapy, in Berti’s work, “involves taking patients’ cells that are sick, taking them out of the patient, genetically modifying cells and putting them back into the patient to fight the cancer,” he said.
Born in Ecuador, Berti moved to Massachusetts in 2011 to study at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
He says he’s driven by two things:
The first is his creativity and hands-on nature. In high school, for instance, he created a heart substitute for a chicken, with the main arteries and veins connected to a pump outside of the chicken. “The chicken lived for just a couple of hours, but it allowed me to see how little things in life could make a big difference,” he said.
The second is a desire to help people. “My grandfather was a well known political figure in Ecuador — the mayor of the capital city and a lawyer, too. Growing up next to him and his service to people in need was something I admired,” Berti said.
Prior to Cytiva, Berti worked at life sciences company, MilliporeSigma, for five years. His work there earned him Inventor of the Year Award in 2020. He holds two master’s degrees, which he worked on simultaneously from WPI after getting his bachelor’s there.
Berti is also involved in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. “Being a Latino, it’s hard to get a job in this field. I want to empower other Latinos because there aren’t a lot of us here,” he said.
So of all his accomplishments, what is he most proud of? “It would have to be the person I have become during the process,” he said. “One can talk about patents, one can talk about degrees, one can talk about challenges I’ve overcome during the years, but — and I hope my grandfather would agree — it’s the process.”