Responding to COVID-19

Purdue Engineering Rising to the Challenge Webinars
Hosted by the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab

Tuesday, May 12th

Speakers from The World Bank, Indiana State Department of Health, Plan International and Intellectual Ventures will discuss innovation gaps that should be filled to manage current pandemic needs.  They will also discuss challenges their organizations are anticipating for the future, post pandemic world, and how innovation can accommodate, adapt and help manage those changes. 


Michael Woolcock
Lead Social Scientist, Development Research Group,
The World Bank

Lindsay Weaver
Chief Medical Officer
Indiana State Department of Health

Molly Fitzgerald
Associate Director, Innovation
Plan International

Maurizio Vecchione
Executive Vice President, Global Good and Research,
Intellectual Ventures


Arvind Raman, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff, Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Materials Engineering, Purdue University


Pallavi Gupta, Assistant Director of Programs, Shah Family Global Innovation Lab, Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships Office, Purdue University


  • Welcome & Introduction
    Arvind Raman
  • Overview of Shah Lab and Panel Introduction
    Pallavi Gupta
  • Presentations from External Speakers
    Michael Woolcock
    Lindsay Weaver
    Maurizio Vecchione
    Molly Fitzgerald
  • Q & A
    Moderated by Pallavi Gupta

In April 2020, Purdue’s College of Engineering launched the Engineering Rising to the Challenge (ER2C) Initiative to respond to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and the longer-term need for a more robust and resilient future for humanity. The Initiative stimulates engineering thought leadership, scholarship, innovation, education and action to address critical issues related to societal resilience in the face of shocks such as pandemics and other disasters and crises both natural and human-made.

This event “Responding to COVID-19 Today and Tomorrow: Innovation Needs Perspectives from the Frontline” is hosted by the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab. The Shah Lab, under Global Engineering Program and Partnerships, fosters and sustains a vibrant community of faculty, staff, and students working with domestic and international partners to address socio-economic challenges.  The Lab’s initiatives comprise research, design, adaptation, and field-testing of technologies and services, in all sectors, that have local buy-in and a strong scaling potential. 

Speaker Bios

Dr. Michael Woolcock

Michael Woolcock

Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Scientist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group, where he has worked since 1998. For fourteen of these years he has also been a (part-time) Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, with periods of leave spent at the University of Cambridge (2002, as the Von Hugel Visiting Fellow) and the University of Manchester (2007-2009, as the founding research director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute, now the Global Development Institute). His research focuses on strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of policy implementation, extending work addressed in his recent book Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action (with Matt Andrews and Lant Pritchett; Oxford University Press, 2017) and instantiated through the Building State Capability Program at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. He is also currently co-directing the World Bank’s bi-annual ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020’. An Australian national, Michael is a co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s awards for best book (2012) and best article (2014) on economic development. He has undergraduate degrees from the University of Queensland (Australia), and an MA and PhD in comparative-historical sociology from Brown University. 

Dr. Lindsay Weaver

Dr. Lindsay Weaver

Dr. Lindsay Weaver joined ISDH as chief medical officer on February 3, 2020. She brings to the role a passion for both emergency medicine and end-of-life care.  Dr. Weaver is an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and practices emergency medicine at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  She is board certified in both emergency medicine and hospice and palliative care medicine.  She earned her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Kentucky and graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She received residency training in emergency medicine and fellowship training in hospice and palliative medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, and she completed a fellowship in ethics at the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics at Indiana University Health.  She has served as quality director for the department of emergency medicine and physician lead for the system sepsis steering committee at IU Health. She also served as executive director for the Indiana Patient Preference Coalition and as president of the Indiana Chapter of the American College of Emergency Medicine Physicians.  Dr. Weaver and her husband have five daughters. 

Mr. Maurizio Vecchione

Maurizio Vecchione

Maurizio Vecchione is the Executive Vice President for Global Good and Research at Intellectual Ventures. In this role, he oversees IV’s collaboration with Bill Gates to invent and deploy technology specifically focused on improving life in developing countries, as well as the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory and Institute for Disease Modeling. With more than 30 years of experience in the technology sector, Mr. Vecchione has helped build nine start-ups and launched more than 50 commercial products. He most recently served as CEO of Arrogene, which is commercializing a new nanotechnology platform for cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, and as CEO of telemedicine pioneer CompuMed. As an inventor himself, Mr. Vecchione is named on multiple U.S. patents and patent applications related to imaging, image processing, nano-bio-polymer and telecommunications technologies. 

Dr. Molly Fitzgerald

Molly Fitzgerald

Molly Fitzgerald is the Associate Director for Innovation and the senior health technical lead on a portfolio of programs at Plan USA. She is responsible for supporting the development of novel approaches that tackle complex humanitarian and development challenges prioritizing needs articulated by young people that impede girls’ ability to learn, lead, decide and thrive in communities where Plan works. Before joining Plan, she lived and worked extensively primarily throughout Africa where she led civil society capacity building efforts focusing on strengthening community health systems and comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health access for refugees and other populations with poor access to services. She is passionate about promoting equity and inclusion, and the use of creative co- design processes for tackling complex global health and development challenges. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH), with a focus on refugee studies, and health and human Rights, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Arvind Raman

Dr. Arvind Raman

Dr. Arvind Raman is the Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. His research focuses on exploiting nonlinear dynamics for innovations in diverse interdisciplinary areas such as nanotechnology, biomechanics and appropriate technologies for sustainable development. His work on the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) has helped the scientific and industrial community recognize and exploit nonlinear effects to better and more rapidly image and measure properties of complex materials at the nanoscale. Via the cyberinfrastructure of nanohub his AFM simulation tools are used by thousands of researchers worldwide. He is the co-founder of the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab in the College of Engineering that supports technology development and translation of technologies for sustainable development and the PI of the $70M USAID funded LASER PULSE center that convenes and catalyzes a global network of Universities, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector for research-driven practical solutions to critical development challenges in Low- and Middle- Income Countries.

Ms. Pallavi Gupta

Pallavi Gupta

Pallavi Gupta is the Assistant Director of Programs for the Shah Lab. She has significant experience working with tech and non-tech innovations resolving critical challenges in the developing world. As Assistant Director of Programs for Shah Family Global Innovation Lab, Pallavi will support all phases of research projects and is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with a portfolio of top NGO's and donors to generate new opportunities for collaboration. Pallavi received the M.A. in International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University and the M.S. in Management Information Systems from the London School of Economics, UK. She has over ten years of experience working across engineering, management consulting and international development. Between 2005 and 2013, she worked as a software engineer with IBM Software Labs India, Autodesk Singapore and as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) London. In 2013, she founded a non-profit, FifthEstate, in Uttar Pradesh, India. The organization partners with state governments in India to create collaborations between innovative social models, government departments, civil society groups and corporations. Her work was acknowledged by the Chief Minister of India’s largest state and was invited to join the State Innovation Council of Uttar Pradesh. As a council member, she advised on the formation of policies on social innovation and encouraging corporate participation in social development. Pallavi is an Ashoka Fellow and has published in development and public policy as well as holds a patent in rational database technology.