Sana, a 2014 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, was raised on Long Island and is the daughter of Indian immigrants. After studying knot theory at MIT, she won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2008 and the Taiwan International Science Fair in 2009. Her mother's battle with breast cancer inspired Sana to enroll in Harvard-MIT's MD/PhD program.
"Lung cancer kills more men and women than any other cancer in the US and the world. A minority of lung cancers are due to mutations in specific genes and affect non-smokers. My scientific career is dedicated to helping improve outcomes for these patients," Sana wrote after being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. "Most lung cancers, however, are due to cigarette smoke and i plan to spend my life making it as difficult as possible for tobacco companies to continue killing 7 million people annually around the globe."
As a PhD student, Sana studied resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Optimistic about tobacco legislation reducing the burden of cancer, Sana wrote a meta-analysis quantifying second-hand smoke exposure in cars and presented it to the American College of Chest Physicians in 2013. In 2010, hoping to teach kids the chemistry of smoking versus running, Sana created a class, BreatheStrong.
Matt Nguyen, a 2017 Fellow, was named to the Law & Policy list. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a California native who is the child of Vietnamese refugees. Matt has also been a leading advocate for education equity. Matt directed an education rights clinic representing children and families in landmark constitutional cases challenging school segregation and protecting students’ right to an education.
"Children and families deserve representation in the classroom, in their communities, and in our government. As the son of war refugees and the product of K-16 public schools, I have witnessed firsthand the role that education rights and social policies play in uplifting underserved communities across our state," Matt wrote after being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. "That is why I am proud to work each and every day to champion our constitutional rights and protect the rule of law, as both a community advocate and an attorney-advisor for the California Supreme Court."
Matt supported the ACLU of Southern California in a legal challenge to the school-to-prison pipeline and in a groundbreaking $150 million settlement for underserved Los Angeles schools. In June 2018, Matt received 29,771 votes (over 25% of votes cast) in a three-way race for the Orange County Board of Education, receiving bipartisan endorsements from dozens of elected officials and community leaders, and from the OC Schools Educators Association. For his work on education, Matt was recognized as a 2018 changemaker by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and as an emerging global leader by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald.
Several Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows have also been named to the list in years past, including Gene Berdichevsky (2009 Fellow), Arnav Chhabra (2014 Fellow), Alexander Chen (2014 Fellow), Sejal Hathi (2013 Fellow), Eran Hodis (2016 Fellow), Noorain Khan (2008 Fellow), Denisse Rojas Marquez (2016 Fellow), Jenna Nicholas (2016 Fellow), Tony Pan (2010 Fellow), Esther Tetruashvily (2012 Fellow), Maria Vertkin (2017 Fellow), and Vivek Ramaswamy (2011 Fellow). ∎