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At least 30 from MIT named to 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 lists

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni honored in "the most definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators."
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MIT affiliates were well represented in the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30, honoring young leaders.
MIT affiliates were well represented in the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30, honoring young leaders.

Forbes‘ sixth annual 30 Under 30 list calls itself “the most definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators” who are not yet 30 years old. As in past years, the MIT community is well-represented throughout. At least 30 MITers are spread among the 600 names and 20 diverse categories in this year’s list. (According to Forbes, the 600 honorees were narrowed from an applicant list of more than 15,000.)

The MIT faculty, staff, students, and alumni named to the 2017 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 are listed below with the category for which they were recognized in parentheses.

Noam Angrist ’13 (social entrepreneur), cofounder of Young 1ove. “Based in Botswana, where 22 percent of the population has HIV, Young 1ove has developed a curriculum that has reached over 35,000 students in more than 360 schools.

Ricky Ashenfelter MBA ’15 (social entrepreneur), cofounder of Spoiler Alert. “Spoiler Alert’s mission is to ensure that no food surplus goes to waste … making it easy to sustainably deal with excess food.”

Alessandro Babini SM ‘15 (sports), cofounder of Humon. “Alessandro’s company is building a wearable device that measures oxygen levels in muscles to determine how hard athletes should push themselves.”

Adam Behrens (health care), MIT postdoc at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. “Working in the lab of serial biotech entrepreneur Robert Langer, Behrens is taking on germs in the developing world.”

Archit Bhise ’13 and Vinayak Ramesh ’12 (health care), cofounders of Wellframe. “Wellframe sells insurance companies a mobile app that helps patients manage complex sets of conditions (think of the problem of having both diabetes and cancer). The insurance company also gets a dashboard that helps them stay in close touch with patients.”

Raja Bobbili ’08 (finance), analyst at Abrams Capital. “Bobbili works with four other investment staff to manage one of Wall Street’s most concentrated and successful portfolios.”

Christina Bognet ’10 (consumer tech), CEO of Platejoy. “Bognet leads PlateJoy, a nutrition startup that curates specialized recipes for users based on diet and weight-loss needs.”

Brad Cordova SM ’13 (enterprise technology), cofounder of TrueMotion. “[TrueMotion] set out to make driving safer through the use of data and analytics, as well as help insurance companies identify risky and cautious drivers.”

Mackey Craven ’10, SM ’10 (venture capital), partner of OpenView Partners. “Craven sits on the board at Scalr and is a board observer at Datadog, UserTesting, Socrata, SwiftStack, and Skytap.”

Prarthna Desai ’11 (health care), operations at Zipline. “[Desai] is leading efforts to integrate the medicine-delivery-by-drone service with the health care system in Rwanda.”

Melissa Gymrek ’11, PhD ’16 (science), assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego. “Gymrek studies genetic variation in humans, particularly at what’s known as short tandem repeats.”

Jiang He (health care), MIT postdoc at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. “[He] used a new technology called single-virus tracking, super-resolution imaging to understand more about how influenza infects cells.”

Sean Hunt SM ’13, PhD ’16 (manufacturing and industry), cofounder of Solugen, Inc. “Solugen has developed a scaled, sustainable process to create hydrogen peroxide from plants.”

Christina Karapataki SM ’12 (energy), principal at Schlumberger. “Karapataki makes venture capital investments on behalf of Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield services company.”

James Karraker ’12, MEng ’13 (consumer tech), co-founder of Scriptdash. “Karraker is one of two cofounders behind ScriptDash, which bills itself as a ‘modern pharmacy’ and sends drugs directly to customers.”

Kai Kloepfer (consumer tech), MIT freshman and founder of Biofire Technologies. “For the last three years, [Kloepfer] has been developing a gun that can only be fired when it reads its owner’s fingerprint.”

Hasier Larrea SM ’15 (manufacturing and industry), foudner of Ori. “[Ori] allows for a number of configurations, from bedroom to office to living room, and back again, all controlled from one control panel.”

John Lewandowski (social entrepreneurs), MIT grad student in mechanical engineering and founder of the Disease Diagnostic Group. “Disease Diagnostic Group screens patients for malaria in just five seconds with a reusable handheld device.”

Curtis Liu ’10 and Spensser Skates ’10 (enterprise technology), cofounders of Amplitude Analytics. “Skates and Liu…cofounded their second company on the floor of Liu’s bedroom in 2012: Amplitude. The San Francisco, Calif.-based startup aims to help companies build better products through advanced analytics and has raised $26 million in funding to date.”

Jessica McKellar ’09, MEng ’10 (enterprise tech), director of engineering at Dropbox. “McKellar joined Dropbox three years ago when the company acquired Zulip, the real-time collaboration startup McKellar cofounded in 2012.”

Stefanie Mueller (science), MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science. “Mueller’s work focuses on the computer science of ‘physical data,’ such as that involved in 3-D printing.”

Jacob Rubens PhD ’16 (science), associate at Flagship Pioneering. “[Rubens] works to develop science, strategy and intellectual property for promising science-based startups.”

Phiala Shanahan (science), MIT postdoc in the Department of Physics. “Shanahan researches the physics of atomic nuclei, and her work has implications for understanding dark matter and physics beyond the Standard Model.”

Mark Smith PhD ’14 (science), cofounder of OpenBiome. “Like a blood bank for human stool, the nonprofit’s work has helped over 18,000 patients.”

Justin Solomon (science), MIT assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science. “Solomon researches geometric problems in computer graphics, computer vision, and machine learning.”

John Urschel (science), MIT grad student in mathematics and Baltimore Ravens guard. “Urschel has published six peer-reviewed mathematics papers to date and has three more ready for review. All this while playing guard for the Baltimore Ravens.”

Tim Wang (health care), MIT grad student in biology and cofounder of KSQ Therapeutics. “Wang cofounded KSQ Therapeutics, a drug company that uses his work using the gene-editing technology CRISPR, to look for new drugs.”

Kwami Williams ’12 (social entrepreneurs), cofounder of MoringaConnect. “MoringaConnect takes the moringa tree, a plant common in arid climates like Africa, and turns it into beauty products and pre-packaged snacks.”

Press Mentions

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The 2017 Forbes “30 Under 30” lists, an annual recognition of change-makers and innovators in 20 industries, feature a number of MIT students, alumni and researchers. 

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