None(Alice Zhang (Verge Genomics))

Like several notable innovators before her (think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg), Alice Zhang left a prestigious university to follow her dream. She withdrew from a PhD program at UCLA to launch Verge Genomics, a company that uses machine learning to develop drugs for complex diseases. Verge brings together mathematicians, neuroscientists, computer learning experts and biotech professionals to accelerate understanding of disease and push for novel solutions. Verge is currently focusing on neurodegenerative disorders, and recently announced several public-private partnerships to create massive databases of information on ALS and Parkinson’s disease. 

“At Verge, we believe that breaking down the barriers that exist between industry, academia, computation and biology is critical to fully realizing the potential of AI in drug discovery,” Zhang said, in a press release

Zhang’s work has already been receiving plenty of attention and accolades. In 2012, she received a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, given to immigrants and children of immigrants who have made major impacts in their fields. Last year, she was named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30

–Credit: Technology | Smithsonian