The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships For New Americans' Arnav Chhabra (2014 Fellow) has always been ahead of the game. He started working at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas when he was a teenager, and had his first peer-reviewed study published before he graduated from high school. Not only did Arnav continue to publish as an undergraduate researcher and mechanical engineering major at the University of Texas-Austin, his alma mater, he also graduated with a perfect 4.0 (early, no less).
It’s no surprise, then, that Arnav, a PhD candidate in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, has been named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" 2016 class at the ripe age of 24. The annual list spotlights 600 young leaders across 20 sectors.
"I grew up in northern India and then moved to Houston, Texas when I was 15 years old. Living in two different countries and cultures, and seeing the differences and similarities between the two, made me the scientist and engineer that I am today. I am well-equipped as a New American to help bridge the gap between health problems and medical resources." - Arnav Chhabra, 2014 Fellow
How did Arnav get the judges' attention? Arnav is working on a game-changer: a "liver on a chip." The technology will replicate the pathophysiology of the human liver, ending the need for animal testing or invasive research practices.
Arnav explained, "The number of available organs for liver transplanation is extremely limited but the death rate from end-stage liver failure keeps increasing. Our lab is trying to leverage advances in the fields of bioengineering and molecular biology to engineer tissue grafts that, once implanted, can grow and overtake the functionality of the native liver. In addition to studying drug responses, we have utilized the 'liver on a chip' developed in our lab to study how the human liver regenerates."
As a member of Sangeeta Bhatia’s Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, Arnav is concurrently funded by the National Science Foundation and The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
Born in India, Arnav moved to the United States with his family when he was a teenager. "I grew up in northern India and then moved to Houston, Texas when I was 15 years old. Living in two different countries and cultures, and seeing the differences and similarities between the two, made me the scientist and engineer that I am today. I am well-equipped as a New American to help bridge the gap between health problems and medical resources," Arnav said.
Arnav is not the only New American on the 2016 list. Forbes used infographics to highlight the 2016 honorees’ New American profile: 19 percent are immigrants and 17 percent are "first-generation."
A childhood photo of Arnav Chhabra (2014 Fellow) in Nainital, India. Arnav’s family immigrated to the United States and settled in Houston, Texas when Arnav was 15 years old.”
Arnav cites his family (pictured here) as one of his biggest inspirations and a major factor in his successes. In addition to their dedication to his education, Arnav’s father and mother were excellent role models. They were both medical doctors who went out of their way to care for the needy.
Several Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows have also been named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" list in years past, including Noorain Khan (2008 Fellow), Sejal Hathi (2013 Fellow), Tony Pan (2010 Fellow), Steve Xu (2011 Fellow) and Vivek Ramaswamy (2011 Fellow). This year, Vivek, who is the founder of Roivant Sciences, also served as a Forbes "30 Under 30" judge for the Healthcare category.
Arnav is side-by-side on this year’s list with Model-Designer Ashley Graham, Golden State Warriors Point Guard Stephen Curry and Actor Zosia Mamet.
To read about Arnav’s New American story, visit his profile.