Scientist, motivational speaker and the inventor of the first email software system, Shiva Ayyadurai, will be on the island this week to participate in the 2nd Clinical Research Summit hosted by the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation.
In an exclusive interview with this media outlet, Ayyadurai — who holds four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — confirmed he will be in Puerto Rico to talk about one of his favorite subjects: innovation.
“One of the things that I really enjoy and am a big proponent of is innovation. Innovation is the difference between creating very vibrant economies and it can occur anytime, anyplace, and by anybody,” said Ayyadurai, who goes by Dr. Shiva, during a video call with News is my Business. “It’s not limited to the military or big universities or Silicon Valley.”
The 2nd Clinical Research Summit will take place May 9-10 at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, bringing together members of the private sector, academia and the government to explore a range of topics from new technologies and initiatives to keep clinical research moving forward.
In the interview, Dr. Shiva said he was drawn to the event after confirming Puerto Rico’s enthusiasm about “doing innovation and bringing in people to explore it. In my view it’s that enthusiasm that brings about opportunities, because people want to do something new.”
“Innovation is something that solves a new problem, and you can’t even initially name it, you can’t describe what you’ve created because that’s how new the innovation is,” said Dr. Shiva, whose recent invention, CytoSolve, provides a platform for modeling complex biological phenomena, to support the development of multi-combination medicines without animal testing.
The new technology enables collaboration of research and what he calls “connecting the dots.” Typical research in biology and medicine provides incentives — like Nobel Prizes — to do so by parts, rather than as a whole, he said.
“The big diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoarthritis, are very complex systems and biology incentivizes people to understand the parts. What we did was take individual pieces of scientific research and connect them together so you can see it as a whole,” he said.
“What I saw with the team in Puerto Rico is an interest in doing system-type work and seeing the whole, which is what’s going to move the needle in medicine and innovation,” Dr. Shiva said.
On May 10, Dr. Shiva will offer a keynote speech entitled “Discovering cures for major diseases,” as well as a related workshop for more one-on-one interaction with the local scientific community.
In 1978, at the age of 14, Dr. Shiva was accepted to a special program in computer science at New York University, after which he was recruited by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as a Research Fellow, where he invented the first email system when he created an electronic system to replicate the entire interoffice mail system (Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Address Book, Memo, etc.), which he named “email.”
In 1982, the U.S. government recognized him as the inventor of email by awarding him the first copyright for “Email” at a time when that mechanism was the only way to protect software inventions.
His claim has not been without controversy, as records show that the first text letter between two computers happened in 1971, sent by computer programmer Ray Tomlinson.