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Who is Dr Arati Prabhakar, the Indian-American Biden wants as top science advisor?

Under her, the DARPA started work on developing a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform, which made it possible to manufacture the safest and most effective vaccine in world history in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is Dr Arati Prabhakar, the Indian-American who could be Biden's top science advisor
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Washington D.C., First Published Jun 22, 2022, 8:14 AM IST

Indian-American scientist Dr Arati Prabhakar has been nominated by United States President Joe Biden as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. If confirmed by the Senate, Dr Prabhakar would script history -- She would be the first woman and immigrant to head the OSTP.

A brilliant applied physicist and highly-respected engineer, Dr Prabhakar will be expected to lead the OSTP to leverage science, technology, and innovation to expand the country's possibilities.

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In a nutshell, in Joe Biden's words, she will be expected to solve America's toughest challenges. Biden said that like Dr Prabhakar, he too believed that America has the most powerful innovation machine the world has ever seen. 

Upon confirmation, Dr Prabhakar would be a member of President Biden's Cabinet, his Chief Advisor for Science and Technology and co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Also, Dr Prabhakar would become the third Asian American to serve in President Biden's Cabinet after Vice President Kamala Harris and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
     
To note, the Senate has in the past unanimously confirmed Dr Prabhakar to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In fact, she was the first woman to head the NIST. 

When Arati was three, her family immigrated to the United States from India. They first arrived in Chicago and then moved to Lubbock in Texas when she was aged 10. She went on to secure her electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech University.

She then got into the California Institute of Technology where she became the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics. She also secured an MS in electrical engineering from the same university. She started her career in the legislative branch as a Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. 

From 2012 to 2017, Dr Prabhakar has also served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the cradle of breakthrough technologies like stealth aircraft and the Internet.

At DARPA, she oversaw a team that developed a prototype for a system that would detect nuclear and radiological materials before a terrorist can build a bomb. She also oversaw a team that worked on tools to find human trafficking networks in the deep and dark web. Dr 

Under her, the DARPA started work on developing a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform, which made it possible to manufacture the safest and most effective vaccine in world history in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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