Forbes chooses 3 from Rice for ‘30 Under 30’

Jan. 6, 2014Rice University

The New Year is fresh, but Rice University already has reason to celebrate this week after three of its rising young stars were chosen for Forbes magazine’s coveted 30 Under 30 in Science and Health Care.

The annual list of up-and-comers includes Genevera Allen ’06, the Dobelman Family Junior Chair of Statistics and assistant professor of statistics and electrical and computer engineering; Jocelyn Brown ’10, senior program associate at Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies; and Daniel Paul Hashim, graduate student in materials science and nanoengineering.

orbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list includes 30 the brightest stars under the age of 30 in each of 15 categories. To compile the lists, Forbes editors ask panels of expert judges to select those who “represent the entrepreneurial, creative and intellectual best of their generation.”

Allen is a statistician, mathematician and neuroscientist who holds a joint appointment in pediatric neurology at Baylor College of Medicine’s Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. In her research, Allen creates tools that allow “big data” to speak for itself and guide analysts to what they most want to know and understand. For example, in applying her methods to data from the functional MRIs of patients with synesthesia, Allen and colleagues have shown that the areas of the brain responsible for processing colors are functionally connected to areas that process letters and numbers — a finding that’s also relevant for the study of Alzheimer’s disease, autism and other neurological diseases.

Brown is a bioengineer and global health pioneer. As a Rice undergraduate in 2009, she and four other students invented a low-cost device called “bubble CPAP” to help newborns in low-resource hospitals in the developing world survive respiratory distress, a condition that kills about 1 million African babies each year. Since graduating, Brown has helped raise more than $2.2 million to develop the technology, and she also moved to Blantyre, Malawi, to help oversee a clinical trial that showed the technology can boost the survival rate of Malawi newborns with severe respiratory illness from 44 percent to 71 percent. She is currently overseeing a nationwide rollout of the technology across Malawi and helping to pilot the technology in teaching hospitals in Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia. Based on early clinical results, it is estimated that bubble CPAP could save the lives of 178,000 African babies each year.

Hashim, winner of the 2013 Hershel M. Rich Invention Award from the George R. Brown School of Engineering, just completed his doctoral studies at Rice and founded Carbon Sponge Solutions Inc., a startup that aims to develop unique nano-oriented materials for the energy industry. Among his research accomplishments, Hashim created a water-hating carbon nanotube sponge capable of absorbing massive amounts of oil. Hashim’s research showed that the oil can be wrung out or burned off, and that the “superhydrophobic” nanotube sponge could be reused to soak up more oil. Hashim also helped research new materials that can be used for storing natural gas and for improving the cathodes in lithium-ion batteries.

To see what Forbes has to say about Allen, Brown and Hashim, visit:

Two Rice alumni were also named to Forbes’ “30 under 30″:  Allison Lami Sawyer ’10 was listed in the energy and industry category for the creation of Rebellion Photonics, which began at Rice. Noorain Khan ’06 was listed in the law and policy category as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, one of the most exclusive firms in the country.