I2D Expo showcases student and faculty research with a global perspective

Purdue Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships (GEPP) held its fifth I2D (Innovation for International Development) Expo, the first under the new Shah Family Global Innovation Lab name, on March 28-29.
Manu Shah, namesake of the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab, addresses attendees of the I2D Expo.

The lab’s namesakes, Manu and Rika Shah, of California, attended the event with their nephew Raju Shah and his wife Manjari, of Indianapolis. The Shah Family has committed a $2.5 million gift to the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab.

The event provides a forum for invited development professionals, students, faculty, and staff to share and learn from one another and create collaboration to further each others’ work to solve critical challenges in the international development area.

Manu Shah commented that he was impressed with the Expo’s organization and content, calling it “extremely detailed and informative.”

Raju Shah (L) and Manu Shah (back to camera) chat during the I2D Expo with George Chiu, assistant dean for global engineering programs and professor of mechanical engineering, and Arvind Raman, senior associate dean of the faculty and Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

The Shah family visited many of the student-presented poster booths, and several of them stand out in their memory. In particular, Manu Shah highlighted research “related to mobile phone apps and computing power to solve chronic problems such as anemic conditions in women and children using non-invasive imaging. He also was impressed with presentations regarding “cholerae germs in water, detection of HIV at the point of care, digital tracking for maternal and child health, drinking water treatment, mobile care for children with autism, and solar drying of specialty crops” as having the potential to solve crucial global health challenges in the developing world.

Shah said it was enjoyable to “witness firsthand how lively and proud students and faculty members are about global innovations through engineering solutions. I am glad that my wife and I were not the judges who decided the winners.”

A part of the lab’s work is to support faculty and students through seed grants, research support, and technical assistance, among other support services, said Pallavi Gupta, program manager for the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab . “The idea behind the event was to showcase such work, promote utilization of research and technology for social impact, and to create space for future collaborations,” she said.

Rika Shah and Manjari Shah discuss Elizabeth Phillips poster centered around automated sample-to-answer detection of HIV for point of care. Phillips is a Ph.D candidate in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

“We also wanted to use the Expo as a platform to provide international development perspective to students and faculty and encourage them to realize their skills in the larger context of global good.”

Gupta said the Expo was enriched by the Shah family’s interaction with faculty and students.

“We had invited Manu Shah to share his journey from being an engineer to starting a company that creates more than 160,000 jobs around the world. We hoped that his story would encourage students to chart their own path of utilizing their engineering skills to create a better world for all,” Gupta added.

Freshman Agricultural and Biological Engineering students (L-R) Tim Miller and Jackson Wright interact with David Wilson, a lab manager in the school, at the fifth annual I2D Expo.

The weekend also featured Essam Sharaf, distinguished engineering alumnus, professor at Cairo University, and former prime minister of Egypt, who gave the keynote address.

In addition, a panel discussion, lecture, workshop, dinner, and reception, were held.

Manu Shah, who received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1968, is CEO of MS International (MSI), a company that pioneered the importation and sale of natural stone in the 1970s and is now the global leader in natural stone and manufactured hard-surfacing products. He was named an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award recipient in 2018.

Essam Sharaf, distinguished engineering alumnus, professor of Cairo University, and former prime minister of Egypt, delivered the keynote address, “Engineering the Future,” during the 2019 I2D Expo.