Vijay S. Pande
|Alma mater||Langley High School|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of California, Berkeley
|Known for||Folding@home, Genome@home|
|Awards||Bárány Award (2012)|
DeLano Award (2015)
|Fields||Chemistry, computational biology, molecular biology|
|Academic advisors||Philip Anderson, Daniel S. Rokhsar|
|Notable students||Jeremy England|
Vijay Satyanand Pande is a Trinidadian-American venture capitalist and an adjunct professor of bioengineering at Stanford University. Pande is the former director of the biophysics program and is best known for orchestrating the distributed computing disease research project known as Folding@home. His research is focused on distributed computing and computer-modelling of microbiology. His research focuses on improving computer simulations regarding drug-binding, protein design, and synthetic bio-mimetic polymers. Pande became the ninth general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in November 2015.
Pande was born in Trinidad in the 1970s to Indian parents. He has two children and likes cats.
After graduating from high school in 1988, Pande worked briefly at the video game development company Naughty Dog in the early 1990s in his late teens, serving as a co-programmer and designer on their 1991 release, Rings of Power. While Pande was attending MIT and Naughty Dog was based in Boston, he played the secret boss character in the 3DO fighting game Way of the Warrior.
Pande graduated from Langley High School's class of 1988 while growing up in McLean, Virginia. In 1992, Pande received his B.A. in Physics from Princeton University. He received academic advice from Nobel laureate Philip Anderson, T. Tanaka, and A. Grosberg for his BA and PhD theses on physics. MIT awarded him a PhD after his thesis in 1995.
The protein-folding computer simulations from the Folding@home project is said to be "quantitatively" comparable to real-world experimental results. The method for this yield has been called a "holy grail" in computational biology.
Pande directed the Genome@home project with the goal to understand the nature of genes and proteins by virtually designing new forms of them. Genome@home started to close as early as March 2004, after accumulating a large database of protein sequences.
Some of the programs and libraries involved are free software with GPL, LGPL, and BSD licenses, but the folding@home client and core remain proprietary.
In 2002, he was named a Frederick E. Terman Fellow and an award recipient of MIT's TR100. The following year, he was awarded the Henry and Camile Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award. In 2004, he received a Technovator award from Global Indus Technovators in its Biotech/Med/Healthcare category. In 2006, Pande was awarded the Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award from the Protein Society. In 2008, he was named "Netxplorateur of 2008". Also in 2008 he was given the Thomas Kuhn Paradigm Shift Award and became a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Pande received the 2012 Michael and Kate Bárány Award for developing computational models for protein and RNA. He is the second person to ever win both the "Protein Society Young Investigator Award" and "Biophysical Society Young Investigator" award. In 2015, Pande received the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences, as well as the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Distinguished Chair in Chemistry.