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IOWA STATE RESEARCHER NAMED ONE OF WORLD'S TOP YOUNG INNOVATORS BY TECHNOLOGY REVIEW, MIT'S MAGAZINE OF INNOVATION
Narasimhan To Be Honored at MIT Emerging Technologies Conference; Second Honor in as Many Years for Iowa State Chemical Engineering
AMES, Iowa -- Balaji Narasimhan, associate professor of chemical engineering at Iowa State University, has been named as one of the world's 100 Top Young Innovators for 2003 by Technology Review, a publication of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chosen by the editors of Technology Review and an elite panel of judges, the TR100 consists of 100 individuals under age 35 whose innovative work in technology is having a profound impact on today's world. Nominees are recognized for their contributions in transforming the nature of technology in industries such as biotechnology, computing, energy, medicine, manufacturing, nanotechnology, telecommunications and transportation.
Narasimhan received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay in 1992, and his doctorate from Purdue University in 1996. He specializes in the design of biodegradable polymers for encapsulating vaccines and proteins. After injection, these polymers, which can be tailored for individual patients, will release precisely determined levels of vaccine into the body at specified intervals for up to a year, dramatically reducing the number of injections needed to treat or manage diseases such as tetanus and diphtheria. In addition to vaccine delivery systems, Narasimhan is also developing new biodegradable polymers to deliver fragile proteins used in diabetes therapies.
The precision Narasimhan has been able to achieve in his laboratory is superior to levels realized by existing drug-encapsulation systems, due largely to the ability of his polymers to resist degradation in water for extended periods and to stabilize fragile proteins. These revolutionary therapies may be particularly effective in developing nations, where access to health care for many is often unreliable. Narasimhan expects both of his systems to be ready for clinical testing within five years. His other research interests are in the areas of nanoscale manipulation of polymer surfaces and interfaces, and combinatorial materials design.
Iowa State's College of Engineering is doubly distinguished in that Narasimhan's wife, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Surya Mallapragada, was named to the TR100 in 2002.
"To bring to Iowa State people of this caliber signals to the world that the university and the state are committed to these emerging technologies and their potential to transform Iowa's economy," said James L. Melsa, dean of the College of Engineering. "And this double recognition by the nation's leading technology publication tells us the world has heard that signal loud and clear."
"Innovation and technological change are essential to worldwide economic growth," said Robert Buderi, editor-in-chief of Technology Review. "Now, more than ever, it's important to recognize that there is no one technology driving the next wave of success, but rather several that, when fused together, will create another era of significant change for our society. The members of this year's TR100 hail from fields such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, wireless, energy, computing and medicine. Each is actively developing the emerging technologies that we feel will profoundly impact our world in the century ahead."
Narasimhan will be honored Sept. 24 -- 25 at The Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT. The event features keynote, panel and breakout discussions on innovations with the potential to fuel new economic growth and dramatically change the future. Speakers include Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computer Corp.; Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman of the board and CEO of General Electric; Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Com Corp. and general partner at Polaris Venture Partners; and Nathan Myhrvold, Ph.D., managing director of intellectual ventures and former CTO of Microsoft Corp. More conference information can be found at
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