Stephen Brossette, 30
Although he’s a doctor, Stephen Brossette thinks he can save more lives by using technology than by seeing patients. As a University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate student, Brossette developed a mathematical technique for finding subtle, otherwise unnoticed patterns in medical data. His approach can reveal an impending outbreak of a hospital- borne infection by identifying patients who share similar demographic backgrounds, frequent the same hospital rooms and have the same odd microorganisms in their lab cultures. In 2000,Brossette formed MedMined in Birmingham,AL,to market his innovations. The company currently has eight employees serving as many hospitals. They sift through masses of data provided by the hospitals to uncover patterns of nascent antibiotic resistance and outbreaks of infectious pneumonia, diarrhea and other diseases. Brossette says early detection can improve intervention—vital because two million patients acquire infections in U.S. hospitals each year, and 90,000 of them die. The amateur photographer and Cajun/Creole chef is also analyzing how best to apply his tools to bioterrorism and contaminated foods.