Announcing the Science and Public Leadership Fellows Class of 2011!

How useful would it be to find a cure for autism? Energy sources less likely to contribute to climate change? Disaster early warning systems based on sound waves? Ways to enable remote surgery or speed up stroke rehabilitation?

PopTech is proud to introduce a dynamic group of people who are working toward those goals and more: the Science and Public Leadership Fellows Class of 2011. From analyzing malaria to crowdsourcing basic science, this year’s Fellows are spearheading research that has the potential to change the world. We’re bringing them together this week at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, with a faculty of experts who will help them further develop the leadership, collaboration and communication skills to become more effective leaders within the scientific community and amongst the general public at large.

Here they are, the Class of 2011:

  • Iain Couzin, a biologist at Princeton University, is investigating collective “herd” behavior among populations ranging from insects to fish to birds to humans.
  • Milton Garcés, a geophysicist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, uses infrasound for detection and warning of natural and man-made disasters.
  • Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, a roboticist at the University of Pennsylvania, is developing interface systems that enable users to touch virtual objects and distant environments as though they were real and within reach, which has applications in surgery, medical training, autonomous robots and games.
  • Shaily Mahendra, an environmental engineer at the University of California Los Angeles, is studying how microbes interact with nanomaterials and environmental contaminants, for applications ranging from ecotoxicology and disinfection to biofuels and bioremediation.
  • Alysson Muotri, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Diego, is challenging the concept of “junk DNA” through his research on stem cells and the neurobiology of autism.
  • Raul Rabadan, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University, is developing computational tools to reveal biological and clinical information from large data sets in areas such as infectious disease, cancer and electronic medical records.
  • Pardis Sabeti, a systems biologist at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is using emerging genomic resources to study the effects of natural selection on evolutionary adaptation in humans and pathogens.
  • Clifford Saron, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California Davis, is researching the effects of intensive meditation practice, as well as brain function limitations in children with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Jessika Trancik, a materials scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is working to accelerate the discovery and scaling of new energy technologies aimed at mitigating climate change.
  • Adrien Treuille, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, brings crowdsourcing, computer games and simulation techniques together to advance knowledge in areas ranging from fluid motion to how new drugs can best target diseases.

In addition to the program’s advisors, nominators and faculty, PopTech’s key partners in this initiative include Microsoft Research, National Geographic, the Rita Allen Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Want to see these new members of the PopTech network in action? They’ll be taking the stage this October at PopTech 2011, following in the footsteps of last year’s stellar class, sharing with the world their remarkable work and inspiring dedication.

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