Innovators Under 35 Roundtable: Biomedicine

Shinjini Kundu, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Sheng Xu, University of California, San Diego, Will McLean, Frequency Therapeutics, and Marzyeh Ghassemi, University of Toronto, Vector Institute

Rachel Metz in discussion with the Innovators Under 35

Shinjini Kundu, Medical Researcher and Resident Physician, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Dr. Shinjini Kundu is a medical researcher and resident physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Before becoming a medical doctor, Shinjini earned her BS and MS in electrical engineering from Stanford University and PhD from Carnegie-Mellon University. In her doctoral research, she developed an artificial-intelligence technique to examine medical images for latent signs of disease that are imperceptible to humans. Among the many applications of her diagnostic technology, her technique was shown to predict osteoarthritis in seemingly healthy patients three years before any symptoms appeared. She has given a TEDx talk on this work and was named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Sheng Xu, Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego

Sheng Xu is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Nanoengineering at UC San Diego. He received his BS in chemistry and molecular engineering from Peking University in Beijing and his PhD in materials science and engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research group focuses on crystalline material growth for high-performance energy devices, nanosensors for intracellular action-potential recording, and wearable electronics for human-machine interface and health monitoring. His research has been recognized by a series of awards, including the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, the Samsung Global Research Outreach Award, the TSMC Research Gold Award, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Prize for Young Chemists.

Will McLean, Cofounder and Vice President of Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Frequency Therapeutics

Will McLean studied biology as an undergraduate at Tufts University before going on to attain his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology within the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. His doctoral research elucidated the distinct progenitor cell types that exist within the inner ear and their capacity to form hearing and balance sensory cells and neural cell types. As a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, Will investigated small-molecule manipulation of signaling pathways to enable otherwise senescent progenitor cells of the cochlea to divide and form new sensory cells. He is a cofounder and vice president of biology and regenerative medicine at Frequency Therapeutics. Frequency is currently using his insights to develop a drug to treat hearing loss by regenerating lost sensory cells.

Marzyeh Ghassemi, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Vector Institute

Marzyeh Ghassemi is a visiting researcher with Google’s Verily and a postdoc in the Clinical Decision Making Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), supervised by Dr. Peter Szolovits. She will join the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in computer science and medicine in fall 2018, and will be affiliated with the Vector Institute.

Marzyeh’s research focuses on machine learning with clinical data to predict and stratify relevant human risks, encompassing unsupervised learning, supervised learning, and structured prediction. Her work has been applied to estimating the physiological state of patients during critical illnesses, modeling the need for a clinical intervention, and diagnosing phonotraumatic voice disorders from wearable sensor data.

Her work has appeared in KDD, AAAI, IEEE TBME, MLHC, JAMIA, and AMIA-CRI; she has also co-organized the NIPS 2016 Machine Learning for Healthcare (ML4HC) and 2014 Women in Machine Learning (WIML) workshops. Before MIT, Marzyeh received BS degrees in computer science and electrical engineering as a Goldwater Scholar at New Mexico State University, worked at Intel, and received an MSc in biomedical engineering from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar.


Innovators Under 35
individuals whose superb technical work promises to shape the coming decades through the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve problems.