2021 AJN Awards

Science Awareness Award

Communicating complex science topics in innovative, engaging ways


“I am honored to receive this award, just as I have been honored to be a voice of the scientific community over the course of the pandemic,” Dr. Gupta said.

Acting as the Institute’s chief spokesman during the COVID-19 pandemic for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, Dr. Gupta became an authoritative and tireless presence on the evening news. He has given more than 200 COVID-19 briefings.

A Critical Care Pulmonologist and Affiliate Faculty at the Institute, Dr. Gupta has served in a variety of roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to his clinical responsibilities, including serving as Chief Medical Officer of COVID-19 Response for Amazon.com, Inc. Additionally, he served as health advisor on the Biden-Harris Transition’s COVID-19 Response team.

Clinically active as a Pulmonary/Critical Care physician, Dr. Gupta’s research has focused on several important issues in global public health. Dr. Gupta helped lead a large research portfolio examining the global burden of non-communicable diseases using the most advanced epidemiologic methods. These efforts were primarily funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and focused on attributable disease from tobacco use globally, with particular focus on Mexico, Brazil, China, and Indonesia. A secondary area of focus included assessing the impact of environmental health considerations (e.g., air pollution) on chronic respiratory disease.

He concurrently holds an active commissioning as Major in the United States Air Force Reserve Medical Corps, where he serves a deployable critical care aerospace physician with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron based at Joint-Base Lewis McChord.. In this capacity, Dr. Gupta previously assisted with bolstering the emergency health crisis response capabilities of partner nations in Africa as part of the US State Department’s African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (“A-Prep”) initiative.

In his current role as Principal Scientist at Amazon, Dr. Gupta provides clinical and strategic leadership to the company’s internal and external COVID-19 response work, including overseeing the funding of clinical trials, expanding its work in public health through community-based initiatives, and ensuring the implementation of evidenced-based workplace health and safety protocols.

Dr. Gupta received his BA from Princeton, MD from Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Master’s in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, regular health policy contributor  for national media outlets, and board member on several health-focused nonprofit organizations nationwide.

Dr. Vin Gupta

Science Discovery Award

Creating major disruptive scientific contributions 



Pattern Computer, with its novel Pattern Discovery Engine, has made marked progress on major cancer detection diagnostics, among other contributions. The challenges being addressed by the Pattern team are in fields as diverse as drug discovery, biomedical research, materials science, aerospace manufacturing, veterinary medicine, air traffic operations, and finance. 

 Pattern Computer, Inc. (PCI) was founded by Mark Anderson in 2015 upon a mission to create an innovative analytical platform for solving the most intractable problems faced by our society in business, government, academia, research, health care and medicine.  Mark has assembled a world class team of technology executives with decades of experience who, like Mark, are driven to make a difference in the world.  Currently, a primary focus of the PCI team is on understanding the root causes of multiple types of cancer.  The PCI team is making significant progress in new drug discoveries and in combining known therapies into novel treatments.  Those treatments are being validated today and will be an important step forward in advancing the state of the art in the fields of cancer research and treatment.

The Pattern Discovery EngineTM (PDE), is the core of the PCI platform.  The PDE is comprised of groundbreaking inventions in mathematics, data management, hardware acceleration and new analytical techniques that are built into software.  Pattern’s proprietary mathematical techniques can find subtle and complex patterns in large, hyperdimensional data sets that have remained undetected by multiple previous approaches and systems.  In some cases, the data sets have been in use for decades and are now yielding groundbreaking insights due to the application of Pattern’s technology and methodology.

The PCI team and platform are delivering a comprehensive view and a deeper level of understanding of how genes work in concert to create disease states, and more importantly, how those disease states can be prevented or reversed once they appear in the human body.  This new wider understanding of the complex root causes of disease are illuminating the pathways to new solutions, treatments, and avenues for creating health in those patients.  

The PCI team is in the early stages of our journey to create powerful new techniques and technologies that will provide numerous fields of endeavors with new insights into the intricacies of the human body at the genetic level.  We are on a mission to create insight and understanding to improve lives around the globe.

Mr. Anderson is the Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Pattern Computer Inc. (PCI). Mark is also the founder and publisher of the weekly SNS Global Report on Technology and the Global Economy (www.stratnews.com), read by technology executives and investors worldwide. Mark founded the Future in Review (FiRe) conference (www.futureinreview.com) – now in its 18th year – which the Economist has called “the best technology conference in the world.” Mark’s most recent book, The Pattern Future: Finding the World’s Great Secrets and Predicting the Future Using Pattern Discovery, describes how he has consistently made successful predictions across a wide variety of global industries and disciplines.

Mark is Co-founder of the Pattern Recognition Laboratory at UC San Diego, a member of the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, and an advisory board member of the Calit2 and Qualcomm Institutes, the Graphene Industry Stakeholders Assn. (GSA), and the GSA Center of Excellence. He provides advice to, or has invested in, Ignition Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Global Advisory Council of the mPedigree Network (Ghana), SwedeTrade, The Family Circle (Europe), the NSA, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the DHS, the NGA, the State Department, USTR, the White House, GCHQ, MI5, the British Cabinet Minister’s Office, and industry-leading firms including Dell, Microsoft, Google, Symantec, and Nuance Communications.

Mark Anderson and the PCI team are honored to be recognized as part of the group of luminaries, leaders, and innovators to receive an Alexandra J Noble award in 2021.

Science for Society Award

Recognizing individuals making impacts in social media, film, books


Imagine a world where communication was limited to low-bandwidth fixed-location land-line telephones.   In short, no mobile phones and no video conferencing.   This was the world in 1995 for everyone except a few lone scientists and engineers.   Imagine the impact of COVID-19 on every aspect of our lives if that were the status of communication systems today.

Dr. Miran Croak, Vice President of Engineering at Google, created many of the key patents for the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology used to make phone calls in Skype, Google applicaotns, FaceTime, and more.  And Eric Yuan founded a company, Zoom Communications, which literally saved education systems across the globe during the pandemic’s  worst time (not to mention economic, political, and health impacts as well).

Dr. Croak, Vice President of Engineering at Google, is among 10 leaders to be recognized in the 2021 Alexandra Jane Noble (AJN) Awards, organized by Novim. The awards, now in their fourth year, honor efforts to communicate complex topics in innovative, engaging ways to stimulate higher awareness of scientific issues, particularly in young adults.

If you’ve ever used WhatsApp, Skype, Google applications, or FaceTime to make a phone call, you have Dr. Croak to thank. During an illustrious career, she has developed inventions that make phone calls more reliably and securely transmittable over the internet.

Dr. Croak began working at AT&T in 1982, where she advocated for the move from wired technology to Internet protocol. She currently holds more than 200 patents, over half of which are related to VoIP. In 2013, Dr. Croak was inducted into the Women in Technology International’s hall of fame for her contributions to tech.



Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications, Inc., helped make sure children could continue to attend school during shutdowns by offering free use of his product to more than 125,000 K-12 schools in 25 countries. 

Under his leadership, the Zoom platform continues to dramatically transform the way individuals and leading global enterprises communicate and became an essential tool during lockdowns across the world. In April last year, Zoom peaked at over 300 million daily meeting participants – up from ten million in December 2019.

Prior to founding Zoom in 2011, Yuan was corporate vice president of engineering at Cisco, where he was responsible for Cisco’s collaboration software development. He was also one of the founding engineers and vice president of engineering at Webex. Between 1997 and 2011, he grew his team from 10 engineers to more than 800 worldwide and contributed to revenue growth from $0 to more than $800 million.

Yuan and Zoom Video Communications, Inc. received the Science for Society Award together with Google’s Dr. Marian Croak, who developed inventions that made phone calls more reliably and securely transmittable over the internet. The award acknowledges individuals and companies whose scientific and technical contributions are making impacts in different areas.


Science Impact Award

Creating major impacts on people’s lives



Katalin Karikó is Senior Vice President at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals from 2013. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where she worked for 24 years. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Szeged, Hungary, in 1982. For four decades, her research has been focusing on RNA-mediated mechanisms with the ultimate goal of developing in vitro-transcribed mRNA for protein therapy. She investigated RNA-mediated immune activation and co-discovered that nucleoside modifications suppress immunogenicity of RNA, which widened the therapeutic potentials of mRNA. She has 10 patents granted by US for application of non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. She co-founded and from 2006-2013 served as CEO of RNARx, a company dedicated to develop nucleoside-modified mRNA for therapy. She is a founding member of the scientific planning committee for the International mRNA Health Conference, an annual non-profit meeting for advancements of mRNA technology, inaugurated in 2013. She served as guest editor of the Molecular Therapy special issue on mRNA Therapy, in 2019. She is elected member of Academia Europaea, and recipient of the Rosenstiel Award, Research!America’s Public Health Award. Her patent, co-invented with Drew Weissman on nucleoside-modified uridines in mRNA is used to create the anti-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna/NIH.



Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D. is a professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He received his graduate degrees from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Weissman, in collaboration with Dr. Katalin Karikó, discovered the ability of modified nucleosides in RNA to suppress activation of innate immune sensors and increase the translation of mRNA containing certain modified nucleosides. The nucleoside-modified mRNA-lipid nanoparticle vaccine platform Dr. Weissman’s lab created is used in the first 2 approved COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. They continue to develop other vaccines that induce potent antibody and T cell responses with mRNA–based vaccines. Dr. Weissman’s lab also develops methods to replace genetically deficient proteins, edit the genome, and specifically target cells and organs with mRNA-LNPs, including lung, heart, brain, CD4+ cells, all T cells, and bone marrow stem cells.

Science Inspiration Award

Recognizing unsung heroes who stimulate & inspire


The Duke University colleagues made fundamental contributions to engineering the first split ventilator prototype. With ventilators in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Randles and Dr. Bishawi created a ventilator splitter and resistor system (VSRS) which enables one ventilator to support two or more patients.

Dr. Randles, the Alfred Winborne Mordecai and Victoria Stover Mordecai Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Duke University, has been working at the intersection of computational fluid dynamics and high performance computing since 2008. She is passionate about using massively parallel computing to enhance our understanding of disease progression and improve the use of personalized treatment strategies.  She leads a research program with the goal of using cutting edge technology to improve clinical outcomes for patients.  

Amanda received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University as a DOE Computational Graduate Fellow and NSF Fellow. Before that, she received her Master’s degree in Computer Science from Harvard University and her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Physics from Duke University. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a software engineer at IBM on the Blue Gene supercomputing team. Before coming back to Duke, she worked as a Lawrence Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a visiting scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is a two time ACM Gordon Bell Finalist and was awarded the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award. She is currently leading an Aurora Early Science Team preparing codes for the first exascale supercomputer and won an INCITE award to develop models of cancer cell transport. Prof. Randles has contributed over 60 peer-reviewed papers, over 100 granted US patents, and had over 100 pending patent applications.

Muath Bishawi is a resident in Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Research Scientist in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University .  His clinical interest is in adult cardiothoracic surgery with a specific focus on end stage heart and lung failure therapies including device therapies and transplantation.  Dr Bishawi is focused on translational and biomedical engineering approaches to studying cardiovascular function. He has been deeply engaged in medical device design and entrepreneurship, co founding and currently leading his own startup.  His career focus is leveraging his medical and engineering expertise to bridge scientific and engineering discoveries into patient therapies that improve patient outcomes and cost effectiveness of healthcare delivery.


This year, for the first time, the AJN Awards Board is also issuing two Certificates of Commendation, for extraordinary efforts and impact on issues around the COVID-19 pandemic. The certificates are:

Science Stewardship Certificate of Commendation


For their prescient role in backing mRNA research for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, their early endorsement of pandemic responder training symposia for governments, and their strong support for the development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines over the past twelve months.

Science Communication Certificate of Commendation


As head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Fauci has provided forthright discussions and invaluable perspective for Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.