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BIO Announces 2020 BIO IMPACT Award Winners

Dr. Emily Leproust  with Twist Bioscience and Dr. Pramod Chaudhari with Praj Industries are recognized as the Rosalind Franklin and George Washington Carver Award recipients, respectively

September 18, 2020
Media Contact
Connor McKoy

Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2020) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries Limited, as the winner of the 2020 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture and Dr. Emily Leproust, CEO and Co-Founder of Twist Bioscience, as the winner of the 2020 Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture.

Through their significant contributions in building and strengthening the biobased economy, Dr. Pramod Chaudhari and Dr. Emily Leproust are driving sustainable solutions for how we build a more resilient world in the face of unprecedented global health and climate challenges.

“The BIO IMPACT award winners represent leaders in advancing the bioeconomy,” said Stephanie Batchelor, Vice President of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “Both Emily and Pramod’s vision have shown biotechnology’s vast potential in solving ever-increasing challenges—from the current coronavirus pandemic to addressing climate change to establishing an economy centered around sustainability. I’m proud to recognize both of them with this extraordinary honor.”

The awardees will be honored during a fireside chat at the reimagined BIO IMPACT Digital Ag & Environment Conference, taking place September 21-22, 2020. The George Washington Carver Award is sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association and the Rosalind Franklin Award is sponsored by the Rosalind Franklin Society. 

2020 George Washington Carver Award Winner: Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries Limited

A first-generation tech entrepreneur dedicated to decarbonization and growing the bioeconomy, Pramod is the founder of Praj, one of India’s most accomplished process and project engineering companies with offices around the globe and customers in 75+ countries.

Pramod developed Praj’s Bio-Mobility™ platform, which produces renewable liquid and gas biofuels for land, sea, and air transportation, and Bio-Prism™, a portfolio of technologies to produce renewable chemicals and materials from biomass, including bioplastics. currently overseeing the execution of four commercial-scale 2G biorefineries, scheduled for commissioning in 2021. Credited with setting up the UK’s first bio-ethanol plant and supplying the technology for 100% of Colombia’s ethanol program

Pramod Chaudhari

“I am honoured to accept this award and feel humbled that my work in the bioeconomy resonates the pioneering spirit of George Washington Carver. This recognition reaffirms India’s rising prowess in the global bioeconomy. It is also testament to Praj’s 35 years of sustained efforts towards the causes of innovation and technology. My passion for planet, people and prosperity have led team Praj to derive value from agri-processing and support the rural economy by offering end-to-end sustainable solutions. I dedicate this award to the focused endeavours by team Praj and everyone across the world who directly and indirectly participated in the journey to nurture a sustainable future”, said Dr. Chaudhari on this development.


Like the award’s namesake George Washington Carver, an environmentalist who pioneered new soil techniques to help farmers grow better crops, Pramod is breaking new ground in terms of how we use agriculture to fuel the world and reduce the impact of transportation on the environment.

2020 Rosalind Franklin Award Winner: Dr. Emily Leproust, CEO and Co-Founder of Twist Bioscience

Described as a “natural-born leader,” Emily is the co-founder of San Francisco-based Twist Bioscience, which manufactures DNA and DNA-based products to improve human health and sustainability. Under Emily’s leadership, the company built a silicon-based DNA synthesis platform that offers precision and scalability that are unavailable anywhere else in the market.

Emily Leproust

"It is a great honor to receive the BIO Rosalind Franklin Award, particularly in 2020, the year she would have turned 100,” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience. “At Twist, we stand on the shoulders of giants like DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin, advancing DNA-based products to write the future of chemical, medical, food and even data storage. We continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, disrupting markets to improve health and sustainability through precisely written DNA.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emily saw an opportunity to combine her passions for DNA and helping others. Twist used its platform to create synthetic RNA controls used in many COVID-19 diagnostics, and also introduced two next-generation sequencing panels to detect a wide range of respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms including SARS-CoV-2. The company is also identifying antibodies to treat and/or diagnose COVID-19—including several which are already showing promising neutralizing effects.

Emily embodies the spirit of the award’s namesake Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the helix structure of DNA with her 1952 photograph, called Photograph 51.

For more information about BIO IMPACT Digital, click here.

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