Martine Rothblatt

b. October 10, 1954

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Martine Rothblatt until we are able to commission a full entry.

Martine Rothblatt accepting an award at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2010.


Courtesy of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance/Wikimedia Commons.

CEO Martine Rothblatt’s fascination with interconnectivity led her to found GeoStar and Sirius Radio, but her drive to save her daughter’s life led her to create the biotech company United Therapeutics Corporation. After a profound experience at a NASA tracking station in the Indian Ocean, Rothblatt studied communications and law at UCLA and astronomy at the University of Maryland, focusing on satellite technology. Hired in 1982 as a lawyer to manage regulations over a satellite navigation system, she launched the revolutionary GPS company GeoStar as CEO in 1986. In 1990 she created Sirius Satellite Radio. That year, her youngest daughter, Jenesis, was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, a fatal heart condition. Rothblatt researched the disease and founded United Therapeutics to create life-saving drugs for it, as well as other life-extending therapies. Always at the cusp of new technology, in 1992 she led the International Bar Association’s efforts to draft the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights. In 1994 she underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery and legally changed her name. She has been a vocal advocate for transgender acceptance. In 2001 she earned a PhD in bioethics with a thesis on xenotransplantation In 2016 she, Glen Dromgoole, and Ric Webb conducted the world's first electric-powered full-size helicopter flight. In 2017 Forbes named her one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds of the past century, and in 2019 Business Insider named her one of the most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech. In 2021 she opened new possibilities for organ transplants when her electric drone speedily delivered a set of lungs to Toronto General Hospital, the first lung delivery of its kind. The next year her company Lung Biotechnology performed the first transplant of a genetically modified pig heart, but the recipient died soon afterwards. In 2022 she unveiled a 3D printed human lung scaffold, the most complex 3D printed object. In 2023, she received the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Martine Rothblatt." (Viewed on May 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/rothblatt-martine>.