Shivang Dave - moderator
Shivang R. Dave, PhD, is an Arc’teryx Boston store ambassador and is a co-founder and CEO of PlenOptika, Inc., biomedical technologist, and social-impact entrepreneur. Building on a research career in bioengineering, synthetic chemistry, nanotechnology, biomedical imaging, global health, and entrepreneurship at the University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington, Seattle, UW Foster School of Business Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a Madrid–MIT M+Visión Fellow he co-invented a breakthrough technology to vastly expand access to vision care and eyeglasses globally. The QuickSee handheld autorefractor commercialized by PlenOptika, a mission-driven company, has been used on more than 2 million patients in 25 countries since its launch in 2018. Prior to his efforts at PlenOptika, Shivang innovated and helped commercialize two separate biomedical technologies, each expressing his passion for thoughtful design and healthcare innovation. He enjoys sharing his experiences through mentorship, meditating on philosophy and the arts, and sharing adventures with friends in the outdoors.
.A.J. Kumar - panelist
A.J. Kumar was inspired by his time as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural South African village to find ways to combine his passion for science and technology with social impact. He is currently focused on the triple challenge of enabling food security, empowering rural economies, and fighting climate change at Indigo Ag, a company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. In 2019, Indigo launched Indigo Carbon, a program that assists growers in adopting new cultivation strategies proven to reduce emissions and restore carbon to soils. By measuring growers' demonstrated on-farm environmental improvements and connecting them with companies looking to directly support the transition to a more beneficial ag system through verified agricultural carbon credits, the program allows farmers to cultivate a new crop: carbon As the Director of Carbon Experimentation at Indigo, A.J. leads the design of large-scale field trials to study regenerative agricultural systems potential for sequestering carbon in soil and leads technology exploration to identify ground-breaking technologies to enable carbon markets to scale faster.
Prior to Indigo, A.J. was the Chief Scientific Officer at Jana Care where he led the development of multiple low-cost, point-of-care rapid blood tests for chronic diseases. He first got inspired to combine design and science through his PhD work at Harvard University with Prof. George Whitesides. He has authored over 20 publications and is inventor on 10 patents and patent applications.
Although trained as an Applied Physicist, he feels most at home with diverse, transdisciplinary teams tackling big hairy problems. Growing up in South Dakota, he also grew up with a love for the outdoors, climbing, and backpacking. He loves opportunities to bring both passions together by getting his boots on the ground; whether it's trekking out to rural Mississippi to pull soil samples or remote regions of Zambia to do user testing for a medical device.
Lauran Madden - panelist
Lauran is a VP of research and product development at BlueNalu - the pioneer in creating whole muscle, cell-based seafood products, in which living cells are isolated from fish tissue, placed into culture media for proliferation, and then assembled into great-tasting fresh and frozen seafood products. Lauran is also an avid trail runner, rock climber, and overall outdoor enthusiast who wants to see new technology protect the environment and provide consumers with safe seafood.
More about Lauran's trajectory
She started her path with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. She has significant multidisciplinary experiences in the design and development of novel biomaterials, cell expansion methods, and 3D tissue fabrication to generate 3D cell-based products.
Most recently, Lauran was a Scientist at Organovo, a national leader in the design and development of functional human tissues using 3D bioprinting technology. She worked on multiple platforms incorporating stem or primary cells and natural biomaterials into 3D systems. She spearheaded the development of a new 3D intestinal model, and made key contributions to the optimization of primary cell expansion, formulation of bioinks, and the validation of new assays. This led to the generation of new intellectual property, and the peer-reviewed publication she authored, titled: ‘Bioprinted 3D primary human intestinal tissues model aspects of native physiology and ADME/Tox functions.'
BlueNalu’s mission is to be the global leader in cell-based seafood, providing consumers with great tasting, healthy, safe, and trusted seafood products that support the sustainability and diversity of our ocean.
Global demand for seafood is at an all time high, as consumers are increasingly choosing to eat the extraordinary variety of delicious and nutritious seafood products that exist worldwide. Unfortunately, our global supply for seafood cannot keep pace with this demand, as populations of marine species have halved since 1970. This is due to overfishing, illegal fishing, rising ocean temperatures, acidification, the effects of trawling, and a number of other environmental, social, and political challenges.
At the same time, consumers are looking for more from their food choices. Consumers are increasingly concerned about animal welfare and the conditions in which fish are farmed and caught. In addition, they are increasingly concerned about their own personal welfare, as seafood can be a source of mercury, toxins and poisons; pathogens, viruses, and parasites; micro-particles of plastics due to plastic pollution in our ocean; and a variety of other environmental pollutants.
BlueNalu will be a third option and supplement current industry practice, in which fish are farmed or wild-caught in our ocean.