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20 Indians bag MIT innovators’ award

Seema Hakhu Kachru (Press Trust of India)

Posted: Nov 27, 2003 at 1420 hrs IST

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan's first annual global top 20 Indus Technovators awards were presented on Wednesday to the outstanding young achievers of Indian origin in the world.

The recipients of this year's awards represent a mix of brilliant innovators — they are graduate students, young professors, grassroots development workers and even successful entrepreneurs.

The winners for innovations in biotechnology, healthcare, and medicine are Ram Sasisekharan (Professor of Biological Engineering, MIT), Chaitan Khosla (Professor of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University), Ramesh Hariharan (CTO of Strand Genomics), Amar Sawhney (CEO, Confluent Surgical), Samir Mitragotri (Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara), Pawan Sinha (Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT), Tejal Desai (Professor of Biomedical.

Desai was recently named one of the ten most innovative scientists by the Popular Science magazine of USA. Desai, who holds a graduate degree from University of California, Berkeley and is currently an Associate Professor in Boston University, builds nifty replacement devices for body organs like pancreas and blood vessels.

The awardees in the area of information technology are: Vanu Bose (CEO of Vanu, Inc.), Rajiv Ramaswami (VP and CTO of the optical networking group at CISCO), Dev Mukherjee (VP of e-sourcing strategy, IBM), Ramesh Raskar (research scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab), and Zeeshan Syed (Oracle).

The winners in the area of nanotechnology, materials and devices are: Surya Mallapragda (Professor of Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University), Vivek Subramanian (Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California, Berkeley), Rashid Bashir (Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University), Rahul Sarpeshkar (Professor at the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT), Sundar Manoharan (Professor of Chemistry at IIT-Kanpur), and Islamshah Amlani (research scientist at Motorola Labs).

For work in energy related innovation, and grassroots development, the winners are: Anil Kumar and Madhusoodanan CG (People's School of Energy), and Viswanadham Nagabhatla (Indian Institute of Petroleum).

The judges also gave an honourable mention to Manindra Agrawal, Nitin Saxena, and Neeraj Kayal (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur) for their work in cracking an age-old mathematical problem with relevance to computers and internet security.

According to a spokesperson, "The Global Indus Technovators awards 2003 have been instituted to recognize and felicitate 20 distinguished innovators of Indus origin working at the cutting-edge of technology that may be harnessed for far-reaching applications.”

"The nominees were rigorously screened and then judged by an eminent panel of judges, including professor Philip Sharp, 1993 Nobel laureate; N.R. Narayanamurthy, Chairman at Infosys Technologies; Desh Deshpande, Chairman, Sycamore Networks; Professor Sandy Pentland, MIT Media Lab," the spokesperson said.

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