Innovators Under 35 Roundtable: Technology's New Frontiers

James Dahlman, Georgia Institute of Technology, Manan Suri, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Niki Bayat, AesculaTech, Adam Marblestone, Kernel; Research Affiliate, MIT Media Lab, and Astutosh Saxena, Caspar

MIT Technology Review's Rachel Metz hosts a roundtable discussion with 2018 Innovator Under 35 honorees about their motivation to push the boundaries of knowledge in their fields.

James Dahlman, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

James Dahlman is an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering, where his lab works at the interface of drug delivery, nanotechnology, genomics, and gene editing. James, who studied gene editing with Feng Zhang and RNA delivery with Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson, uses his unique background in high-throughput nanoparticle chemistry, in vivo RNA delivery, and genomics to design safer gene therapies. He has designed nanoparticles, being considered for clinical use, that deliver RNA to blood vessels in the heart and lung, and he has developed targeted combination therapies targeting five genes at once in vivo. His lab has also designed several high-throughput nanoparticle DNA bar-coding systems to measure how 200 different nanoparticles deliver drugs to cells. He has been named a Bayer Young Investigator and a Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Young Investigator. He has won numerous fellowships and research and teaching awards and was one of two Georgia Tech professors given the Women in Engineering Teaching Award in 2018. His work has been published in Nature Nano, Nature Biotech, Nature Cell Bio, Science Translational Medicine, Cell, PNAS, and other leading journals. He has given 55 invited talks around the world since he completed his PhD in 2014.

Manan Suri, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Dr. Manan Suri is an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-Delhi) and founder of a deep-tech hardware startup called Cyran AI Solutions, based in New Delhi, India. His research interests include semiconductor nonvolatile memory technology and unconventional computing hardware for neuromorphic and machine learning. He received his PhD from INP-Grenoble, France (2013), and his master’s (2010) and bachelor’s (2009) degrees from Cornell University. He has worked at NXP Semiconductors in Belgium and CEA-LETI in France. He holds US and international patents, serves as scientific advisor and steering committee member for leading neuromorphic hardware companies, and has coauthored book chapters and published 45+ papers in reputed conference proceedings and journals. He is a visiting scientist at CNRS in France and serves as committee member and reviewer for IEEE journals and conferences. His honors include the NASI Young Scientist Award, Young Faculty Fellowship, IEI Young Engineers Award, and Laureat du Prix.

Niki Bayat, Cofounder and Chief Science Officer, AesculaTech

Niki is an engineer and entrepreneur who has made important contributions to chemical and biomedical engineering with a multitude of applications for ophthalmological and medical devices. During her PhD research, she developed ground-breaking biomedical devices including an injectable hydrogel for sealing eye injuries, another wound sealant in the form of a reversible thermo-responsive adhesive patch, and smart hydrogels that provide a unique platform for drug delivery. The research that led to development of the injectable hydrogel sealant was featured on the cover of Science Translational Medicine. Currently, together with a team of scientists and engineers, she is in the process of commercializing another one of her inventions through the company she cofounded, AesculaTech. They are working to develop a platform of thermally responsive materials for sustainable, localized drug delivery. This work is particularly effective for patients who need to administer eye drops daily.

Adam Marblestone, Chief Strategy Officer, Kernel; Research Affiliate, MIT Media Lab

Adam Marblestone is chief strategy officer of Kernel and a part-time research affiliate with the Synthetic Neurobiology group at MIT. In his PhD as a Hertz Fellow in Biophysics at Harvard, with George Church and colleagues, he coauthored experimental and theoretical papers on molecular recording devices and road-mapped approaches for whole-brain mapping. Adam also participated in the development of new epigenomic readout technologies, genome engineering methods, nano-fabrication methods and nano-manipulation systems. More recently, he has coauthored papers analyzing the understanding of cortical computation, seeking strategies to integrate deep learning and neuroscience, and proposing new designs for neural interfaces. In his work with Ed Boyden at MIT, he helped to initiate the field of optical connectomics using the combination of expansion microscopy, in situ sequencing, and machine learning. At MIT, Adam was an investigator on an IARPA-funded project to map the neural connectome through in situ sequencing of RNA bar codes. Prior to his work in brain science, Adam studied quantum nonlocality, showing how quantum entanglement can exponentially enhance certain forms of distributed computation, and assisted in the early development of caDNAno, a graphical software tool for design of 3-D DNA origami nanostructures, now the standard for the field of structural DNA nanotechnology. Adam is also a cofounder of BioBright, a company aiming to create a “smart lab” to improve biological experimentation, and a scientific advisor to the Open Philanthropy Project and to OccamzRazor. He has co-taught courses at the MIT Media Lab on cognitive integration and how to invent and deploy transformative technologies.

Astutosh Saxena, Founder and CEO, Caspar

Ashutosh Saxena is CEO and cofounder (with chief scientist David Cheriton) of the high-tech startup by Brain of Things.

Previously, Ashutosh spent four years as an assistant professor in the computer science department at Cornell University, where he founded the Robot Learning Lab and cofounded Zibby. His vision is to build artificial intelligence for embodied systems such as robots, cars, and homes. He received his PhD from Stanford University in artificial intelligence.


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.