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Indian American Scientist Nabarun Dasgupta and 3 Others From India Among ‘Time 100 Next 2023’

Indian American Scientist Nabarun Dasgupta and 3 Others From India Among ‘Time 100 Next 2023’

  • The list of rising leaders includes architect Vinu Daniel, cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur and Tuberculosis survivor and patient rights advocate Nandita Venkatesan.

Indian American scientist Nabarun Dasgupta is on the ‘Time 100 Next 2023,’ a list of rising leaders “for shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.” A senior scientist at the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, and an Innovation Fellow at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, Dasgupta studies drugs and infectious diseases. “His passion is telling true stories about health with numbers,” his university profile says, adding that his work, “centered in pharmaco-epidemiology, amplifies community and patient voices in public health.” Since 2002, he has done pioneering work in pain management, opioid overdose prevention, and addiction treatment, and also has deep expertise in health informatics and machine learning.

Dasgupta keeps photos of people who have died of drug overdoses on his desk, “to remind him of how much work there is yet to be done,” Time says. He also devised a system of swabbing street drugs and testing them at UNC, collecting valuable information to help scientists and drug users alike. His aim, he says, is to use science to answer big questions about drugs. “With 100,000 people dying a year, it’s not theoretical,” he told the magazine. He co-founded two pioneering non-profit organizations — Project Lazarus in Wilkes County (North Carolina), and Remedy Alliance For The People, a national non-profit bulk distributor of free and low-cost naloxone to harm reduction programs. Previously he was the Chief Science Officer of Epidemico, a health informatics startup he co-founded using technology developed at Harvard Medical School. He is also an associate editor at the American Journal of Public Health.  He earned degrees from Princeton University (molecular biology), Yale University (epidemiology of microbial diseases), and the University of North Carolina (pharmacoepidemiology). 

Joining Dasgupta are three young achievers from India — architect Vinu Daniel, cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur and Tuberculosis survivor, patient rights advocate and journalist Nandita Venkatesan. 

Daniel’s Kochi, Kerala-based Wallmakers aims “to build sustainable spaces that are responsive to specific site contexts and conditions while maintaining a balance between innovative and utilitarian design,” Time notes. “We at Wallmakers have devoted ourselves to the cause of using mud and waste as the chief components, to make structures that are both, utilitarian and alluring,” he says on the company website. He completed his B. Arch in 2005 from The College of Engineering, Trivandrum, following which he worked with Auroville Earth Institute for the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) Post-Tsunami construction. Upon return he established Wallmakers. 

Kaur serves as the captain of the India women’s national cricket team in all formats. She plays as an all-rounder for the Indian women’s cricket team; and was awarded the Arjuna Award for Cricket in the year 2017 by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Time says Kaur s”secured legendary status back in 2017 when she scored a then record 171 not out off just 115 balls in a World Cup match against Australia, leaving spectators agog at her extraordinary talent.” Six years later, she is still making headlines. She suspended for two matches and fined 75% of her match fee in July for criticizing umpires during India’s draw against Bangladesh. “Kaur’s fire and flair have been instrumental in transforming women’s cricket from fringe curiosity to one of the world’s most valuable sporting assets,,” Time adds. This March, Kaur led the Mumbai Indians to become the league’s first champions.

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Venkatesan, a data journalist at Mint and South Africa-based Phumeza Tisile both lost their hearing during their bouts with a multidrug-resistant version of tuberculosis — “a side effect of the toxic cocktail of drugs they took during treatment,” according to Time. While “Johnson & Johnson has created a safer and more effective drug to treat TB,” Time noted that “patent laws made it inaccessible for many worldwide.” With the initial patent set to expire in many countries this past July, the company filed for another, which would extend its monopoly. To end that, Venkatesan and Tisile, along with Mйdecins Sans Frontiиres, filed a petition with the Indian government to deny the secondary patent — thus making way for cheaper generics. In March, India rejected the secondary patent, “a landmark victory that will help make the drug available at a much lower price,” Time said, “We had to undergo what we had to undergo,” Venkatesan told the magazine. “But maybe we could prevent this from happening to others.”

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