An extraordinary group of young alumni were recently recognized by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association with their release of the 2023 class of 40 under 40. Four College of Sciences alumni from three schools are members of this class of Jackets.
Launched in 2020, this annual program recognizes 40 alumni under the age of 40 who innovate their fields and positively impact the world.
The Alumni Association notes that they are “proud to celebrate this exceptional class of Jackets who have done the impossible; from furthering space exploration to revolutionizing healthcare, these individuals have made the Tech community exceptionally proud.”
Nominees, who must have completed at least one semester at Georgia Tech and be under the age of 40 as of June 30, 2023, were scored using a 25-point rubric by a committee of 24 faculty, staff, and volunteers who collectively represented all Georgia Tech colleges.
From making groundbreaking discoveries on Mars to revolutionizing healthcare, meet the four trailblazing Sciences alumni in the 2023 class:
Stephen Crooke, Ph.D. Chem ‘18
Lead Microbiologist, Vaccine Immunology | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Stephen Crooke leads the Vaccine Immunology Team in the Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where his team supports global and international disease surveillance and researches the development of new vaccines and diagnostics. He is a recipient of the Maurice R. Hilleman Early-Stage Career Investigator Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, and he is also an investigator in the Center for Childhood Immunizations and Vaccines at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In his free time, Crooke enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with his wife and young daughter.
Favorite Tech Memory: Watching the Jackets defeat UGA in Athens (in overtime, no less!) circa 2014 has to claim the top spot!
Jasreet Hundal, M.S. BI ‘09
Principal Project Lead / Senior Scientist | McDonnell Genome Institute
Jasreet Hundal has revolutionized personalized medicine through her innovative work in computational genomics. After completing her master’s in bioinformatics at Georgia Tech, she joined the Genome Institute at Washington University, focusing on cancer genomics and researching neoantigens. Realizing her computational skills and passion for innovation, she pursued her doctoral degree and developed pVACtools, a computational suite that revolutionizes cancer treatment by predicting individualized neoantigens. Clinical trials across various tumor types now utilize pVACtools to design personalized cancer vaccines. Hundal’s expertise in computational analysis and her pioneering contributions to precision medicine have been widely recognized and published in top-tier scientific journals.
Favorite Tech Memory: Doing late night collaborative assignments in one of the oldest buildings—Cherry Emerson, where the biological sciences program was housed!
Lujendra Ojha, Ph.D. EAS ‘16
Assistant Professor | Rutgers University
Lujendra Ojha is a planetary scientist and assistant professor of planetary sciences at Rutgers University. He gained widespread recognition for his discovery of Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) on Mars, which are seasonal features that may indicate the presence of liquid water on the planet. Ojha’s groundbreaking discovery led to numerous media appearances, including interviews with major news networks and an article in Rolling Stone magazine. He has since published numerous papers in prestigious scientific journals, including Science and Nature Communications. Ojha is committed to advancing our understanding of planetary evolution and the potential for habitability beyond Earth.
Favorite Tech Memory: Midtown Tavern, seminars in the Ford ES&T Building, followed by midnight dinner at Waffle House on 5th street.
Lavanya Rishishwar, M.S. BI ‘12, Ph.D. BI ‘16
Senior Technical Manager | Pillar Biosciences
Lavanya Rishishwar extracts meaningful and actionable insights from vast genomic datasets. Collaborating with federal and state government partners, he has contributed to outbreak investigations, developed infrastructure for laboratory preparedness, and pioneered scalable computational tools for the future. Through mentoring and training, he nurtures the next generation of scientists. Rishishwar’s dedication to translating genomics into real-world impact has earned him recognition and appreciation. His work exemplifies the tremendous potential bioinformatics holds in advancing our understanding of the biological world. Rishishwar received a bachelor’s of science in Bioinformatics from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology.
Favorite Tech Memory: Walking onto the set of The Internship and being playfully scolded by Vince Vaughn for working late on a Friday night.