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Alumnus Kunal Parikh named to Forbes' "30 Under 30"

30 Under 30 in Healthcare 2020:

Fixing Healthcare At Every Scale

 

Kunal ParikhKunal ParikhAlumnus and entrepreneur Kunal Parikh ('12 BS) was named to Forbes magazine's "2020 30 Under 30 - Healthcare" list. Honorees, who were personally vetted by a panel of experts in their fields, join the company of over 3,000 other brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs who are working to make our world a better place. "These young innovators are getting personal to fix healthcare's most pressing problems," Forbes wrote in releasing the news.

Parikh leads a team at Johns Hopkins aimed at finding and commercializing biomedical solutions for unmet medical needs. A serial entrepreneur as well as a researcher, Parikh founded his first company, Core Quantum Technologies, while working as an undergraduate in the lab of Professor Jessica Winter at The Ohio State University's William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He has also recently created another company, Eyedea Medical, which aims to improve access for corneal transplants.

"I'm convinced that technology + entrepreneurship + compassion is the formula for transformative, long-term impact." Kunal Parikh

An entrepreneur as well as a scientist, Parikh has spent years developing drug-delivery platforms to improve patient treatment. He plans to spend the next year pursuing patents for these technologies; submitting his research for publication in scholarly journals; visiting hospitals and manufacturing plants to conduct implementation research; and continuing to lead and mentor the team of scientists, engineers, and clinicians who work alongside him.

The son of Indian immigrants, he says that he grew up with a "scarcity mentality," and learned to make the most of what was available to him. Prior to graduating from The Ohio State University with a chemical engineering degree, he considered becoming a Jain monk, even spending time in monasteries in India speaking wtih monks about his future. 

"They were very clear that my purpose should be to serve others above all else," he said. 

This led Parikh to explore different fields where he could make a difference, including biomedical engineering, biotechnology, public policy, and both nonprofit and for-proft organizations. He saw the potential for aligning the priorities of these fields in order to streamline research and patient care.

Parikh says bringing an entrepreneurial eye to the medical field is critical to ensuring that the developments proceed through the manufacturing and regulatory processes and ultimately make an impact at the patient's bedside. He calls it a "moral imperative."

His research focuses on developing technologies that improve the delivery of vaccines and medicine in the body. This approach includes creating technology capable of sustained drug release to parts of the body and a platform for effective and safe gene delivery that could be used to treat or prevent infections diseases.

"I hope that my approach of needs identification, platform technology development, and translation [to the marketplace] can serve as a template for others who are interested in developing impactful biomedical technologies," he says.

In 2015 he was presented with a Roche/ARCS Scholar Award at the National Academy of Sciences - the second year that he received the award. In addition, out of 36 scholars that year, he was one of two chosen to attend the highly selective Roche Pharma Research and Early Development Symposium.

"It's truly empowering for me to know that I have an entire group of people rooting for me and depending on me to push these discoveries towards clinical impact," he said. "Many thanks to Ohio State, Ohio State Engineering, and Ohio State Chemical Engineering," he said upon receiving the honor. "You were such a critical part of my journey and growth."

Judges for Forbes' Healtchare category were Trevor Martin, cofounder and CEO of Mammoth Biosciences and an alumnus of the 2019 Under 30 list; Helen Torley, the president and CEO of Halozyme Therapeutics; Denise Hinton, chief scientist at the FDA; and Robert Nelsen, cofounder and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners. 

Parikh graduated magna cum laude with honors in engineering and honors in research in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University as a Morrill Scholar and Denman Scholar in the University Honors Program. He pursued a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University with the support of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.