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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Surya Mallapragada, 29

Medicine

Iowa State University

If laboratories are ever to become factories that can produce human organs, scientists must find ways to grow cells faster and in a more controllable way. Achemical engineer who trained at the intensively competitive Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Surya Mallapragada is closing in on that goal. Mallapragada has designed biodegradable polymer scaffolding to guide the growth of individual cells in the same way that wooden supports guide the tendrils of a grapevine. In experiments, she implanted her scaffolds in rats, tied the ends of torn nerve cells to them and showed that the cells could relink by growing along fine grooves on the polymer surface. Carving the grooves was key;t he usual technique of bombarding the scaffold with ions degrades the polymer, so Mallapragada used alternatives like laser etching and atomic-force microscopy that minimize degradation.To entice tissue to grow quickly, Mallapragada lined the grooves with special cells that ooze growth-inducing proteins. When she’s not busy teaching nerve cells to grow, Mallapragada spends a little time learning tae kwon do.

2002 TR35 Winners

Ewan Birney

Biotechnology

Fiona Brinkman

Biotechnology

Chris Burge

Biotechnology

Benjamin Cravatt

Biotechnology

Nathaniel David

Biotechnology

Susan Hagness

Medicine

Derek Hansford

Materials

J. Joseph Kim

Medicine

Steven Laken

Medicine

Kelvin Lee

Medicine

Milan Mrksich

Materials

Stephen OConnor

Biotechnology

Alexander Olek

Biotechnology

Vijay Pande

Biotechnology

Stephen Quake

Materials

David Sabatini

Biotechnology

John Santini

Medicine

David Schaffer

Medicine

Christoph Westphal

Biotechnology

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