Four PIOs named among 100 Leading Global Thinkers

Washington, Dec 2 (IANS) Four persons of Indian origin are featured in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of 100 Leading Global Thinkers who have generated ideas that could promise humankind a better future.

Featured among ‘Innovators’ whose work has advanced “progress in global health, human rights, security, and more” is Nina Tandon, co-founder of Epibone, New York City, “For healing broken bones by growing new ones.”

Typically, to reconstruct bone, surgeons must take bone either from somewhere else in a patient’s body, necessitating a double surgery, or from an outside source, such as a prosthesis or a donor.

But Tandon has created a third way: Growing new bones. A patient’s stem cells are placed in a bone-shaped mold, which is then put into a special chamber that simulates the body’s temperature, nutrient composition, and other conditions.

After three weeks, the cells have essentially formed a new bone. This method requires only one surgery and avoids implanting foreign materials, thereby reducing pain and complications, Foreign Policy noted.

EpiBone has successfully replaced the jaw of a pig and is gearing up to start its first clinical trials, to be held within two years.

Among the ‘Moguls’ who have “showed that progress is possible, whether in corner offices or on factory floors” are Rajan Anandan, managing director of Google, Southeast Asia and India, and Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Civic Accelerator, an investment fund for socially conscious enterprises.

While Sri Lanka-born Anandan is included “For lobbying on behalf of the unconnected”, Khanna gets in “For nudging women into the corner office”.

Anandan “has used his stewardship of Google in India to greatly improve tech access for the poor by successfully lobbying Indian manufacturers to launch low-cost phones, pushing carriers to bring down the prices of data plans, and increasing the translation of Google products into many Indian languages.”

“Beyond that, he’s also one of the country’s most active tech investors: Between January 2014 and June 2015, he was the most prolific, according to Quartz, investing in 15 start-ups.”

“Anandan’s work simply proves that good business doesn’t have to be at odds with good citizenry,” FP said.

In November 2014, Ayesha Khanna and Shannon Schuyler, head of corporate responsibility at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), pooled resources to help women gain access to capital.

This spring, with PwC funding, Civic Accelerator’s cohort of 13 US start-ups – all of which had at least one female founder, and 11 of which were started entirely by women – participated in a 10-week boot camp to test ideas and connect with investors.

Khanna and Schuyler have pledged that at least half of future Accelerator-supported ventures will be owned by women.

Featured among ‘Challengers’ who have “proved that even sacred cows can be toppled” is India-born Zainab Ghadiyali “For cracking the STEM ceiling.”

In Menlo Park, California, Ghadiyali and Erin Summers, both engineers at Facebook, are running “wogrammers,” a movement to end the “brogrammer” stereotype and highlight the technical accomplishments of their peers.

In its first year, wogrammers highlighted 50 female engineers from around the globe.

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