Biju Parekkadan, PhD, and Jason Webb, the creative minds behind the Legend of Sumeria graphic novel series. Dr. Biju Parekkadan is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering with a laboratory that specializes in cell, gene, and tissue engineering. He received his doctoral degree in Chemical and Medical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technol- ogy, where he also completed all medical degree studies. His efforts have been recognized through notable awards including being named Young Mentor of the Year by Harvard Medical School and a Presidential Early Career Scientist from the Office of the White House, the highest honor of an early stage investigator. Jay Webb began his creative, entrepreneurial path with the successful launch of the media production company Evolving Productions in 2004. He has been lead producer on two in- dependent feature films that received distribution through Lionsgate and HBO. Webb cre- ated the first cooperative distribution brand for DIY filmmakers, Indie Street Media, in
What do I do best?
Biju: Approaching biological problems with a creative design view and marrying practical solutions with the right team that I try to inspire.
Jay: Communicating with a wide array of personality and brain types in the hopes to make whatever the life or work experience more enjoyable and rewarding for all involved.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Biju: Being able to recognize patterns and trends in other fields and how it relates to the “big picture” of biotechnology
Jay: Being around the right people, of course including Biju and, of course, my wife. Your best ideas are inspired by connecting minds, and only when you are in the right open/vulnerable space that only your closest buds can offer.
What are my aspirations?
Biju: (a) to be happy, (b) to “help” people in unique ways whether it be directly by new medicines or indirectly be education
Jay: I want to continue to challenge myself to create stories, businesses, and objects that can inspire positive change in others, creations that can at best inspire people to do big things, and at least make a few people smile. Along the same lines, a longer term aspiration that will probably take generations (which is why I will use the term “begin”), is to begin to bridge the communication gaps between conflicting ideologies that divide human beings as a species.
My Biggest Success?
Biju: Taking an invention and translating it to a clinically tested product by founding a company to do so (Sentien Biotechnologies, Inc)
Jay: My relationship with my wife.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Biju: Losing my father unexpectedly
Jay: Losing my father unexpectedly, and then having my best friend Biju lose his father days later.
Biju: Good ideas are nothing without the right people to cultivate them.
Jay: Take things only as seriously as you need to in order to believe that your actions affect others, and in turn the greater world…any more than that and you won’t be able to do it with a smile.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Biju: Dali Lama, Martin Luther King, Mohatma Ghandi
Jay Webb: Dickie & Vicki Webb
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Biju: Many places, but India, Costa Rica, and Argentina have some personal aspects that make them a favorite.
Jay: Jersey and Costa Rica are the two places I split my time and business efforts, and the two have provided a good balance of mental stimulation and pace change.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Biju: I try not to accumulate many products or objects as a practice of minimalism, but I’d say a few entertaining objects that I usually have close by include a meditation book, a chess board, a pull up bar, a tennis racket, a tent, and a basketball.
Jay: It changes quite regularly, as whenever I have a favorite object like a hat or a camera, I tend to lose or break it from overuse or absentmindedness. So I guess at this point I don’t get too attached to objects.
My Current Passions?
Biju: I’m very excited about all the projects that I’m involved in, especially LoS, and hope that it gains fanfare enough to support the 2nd and 3rd books of the series. We have some great projects taking place in my scientific labs and I feel that they are really starting to express the curiosity that I originally had when I started to learn about bioengineering. More than any one particular project, I enjoy seeing the people work on these projects gain confidence themselves and generate an aspect of fearlessness which I think is critical for taking big chances.
Jay: Number 1 has to be becoming a new father. I am ‘teething’ with excitement to watch this little girl grow up. Only 6 weeks in, I am starting to realize that her personality and life choices will ultimately be largely out of my control, but that is making me even more enthusiastic about it actually. I’m just excited for my wife and I to joke around with her, and teach her about kindness and ethics through our actions that hopefully will equip her for whatever the future holds.
Number 2: I am very passionate about continuing the Legend of Sumeria series. We have the outlines for the next 2 books, and I am really happy with the direction it will take the reader…I personally think it can inspire some deep thinking for those who chose to take the full journey. I believe these next books will have even more potential for mass appeal than our first volume (with more futurism and more battles).
Number 3: I’m also really into volleyball, which I started playing competitively about a year ago and have continued to improve on a weekly basis. It’s nice to have something physical to improve upon as you get older, as most physical activities I have probably gotten worse at from my twenties to my thirties from lack of time.