Leadership Team

Elizabeth Nowak

Elizabeth (Ellie) Nowak recently graduated from Harvard and is now in her first year of medical school.  While an undergrad, Ellie studied issues of health, nutrition, and technology diffusion as an African Studies major.  She has worked on several projects in sub-Saharan Africa, including the creation of a Youth Center for Peace in rural Sierra Leone, a community-based health clinic in rural Kenya, and a maternal health project in Sudan.  

Tina Y. Tan

Tina (Yongtian) Tan recently graduated from Harvard and is now on a yearlong fellowship in China. Her interest in malnutrition and global health first developed when she spent a summer conducting field research in the AIDS-affected villages in Central China. While there, she noticed the immense dependence of HIV treatment on proper nutrition, and began to gain interest in the potential of improving health outcomes through addressing the global food crisis.

Windsor G. Hanger

Windsor Hanger is a recent Harvard graduate in the History of Science department.  Her background is in business and entrepreneurial start-ups, and she is also the Co-Founder and President of HerCampus Magazine, an online publication for college-aged women.  When Windsor was 12 and again when she was 13, she spent time working Haiti with a student group on service-oriented mission trips. These experiences have pushed her to seek out creative, high-impact projects that can change the world.  

Our Partners

Our Advisers

Andrew Schiermeier, CEO of Medicine in Need, a nonprofit that applies emerging and advanced delivery and manufacturing technologies to drug and vaccine candidates for diseases of poverty. 

Hugo Van Vuuren, Founder & Managing Partner of Lebônê Solutions, Inc, a social enterprise working in off-grid energy delivery and lighting technology in Africa.

Aviva Presser, Founder of the nonprofit Bears Without Borders, Founder and Program Partner of Lebônê Solutions, Inc, and consultant for thehungersite.com.

David Edwards, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard. He has founded several companies, including Pulmatrix and Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR), the Idea Translation Lab, and a non-profit, MEND.

Jennifer Toy, Co-Founder and Director of Kounkey Design Initiative, a not-for-profit design firm that collaborates with informal settlement communities to develop design solutions to alleviate environmental degradation.

The VertiGrow team was incubated at the Harvard Idea Translation Lab founded by Professor David Edwards at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science. Please read more about the founding of our organization here. We recently received a grant from the Harvard Initiative for Global Health to launch our technology in a pilot study in Kibera, Kenya, in the summer of 2009.

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