4th Annual Humanitarian STAR Awards

2020 Awardees

The distinguished winners of the 4th Annual Rigel Humanitarian STAR Awards stand above the rest. Each of these individuals has done something that advances the cause of humanity greatly.

Lifetime Achievement

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


“Exceptional leader and inspirational figure in the field of space science.”

David Morrisroe Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology. Past Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Project Scientist for NASA’s Voyager mission for the past 47 years and principal investigator on 9 missions and co-investigator on 5 additional missions. Among his many awards, he is the recipient of the International 2019 Shaw Prize in Astronomy.

Voyager established the foundation for our space program and space exploration.  It took humanity on a voyage into interstellar space for the first time; holds the promise of communicating our world with the absolute unknown, and ignites the thrill of discovery… reaching for the stars!

Watch a video on Edward Stone’s work and life.

4th Annual Award Winner

Headshot of Mulchaey


Director and Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair at The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. Founded in 1904, The Observatories is world-renowned for its research on the evolution of the universe.

Mulchaey’s research focuses on a range of key astronomical issues, including dark matter and black holes. In 1993, he led the team that discovered large amounts of dark matter in the local universe, findings that received front-page coverage in The New York Times and a feature in Time magazine. In 2016, Mulchaey appeared in the press as part of the team that identified a mysterious fast radio burst for the first time. He is also a frequent consultant to NASA and the National Science Foundation.

In addition to his research, Mulchaey is actively involved in bringing the stars to the public and students throughout Los Angeles. He created the annual Carnegie Observatories Astronomy Lectures, and hosts astronomy nights at many schools and civic organizations. He secured funding for the creation of science rooms at three local elementary schools, and founded a program for gifted high school science students. In October 2019, he was featured in “Discovering the Universe,” an episode of Public Television series LOST LA.

Health and Medical
4th Annual Award Winner


Dr. Mark J. Manary, MD Helene B. Roberson Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis. Nominated for: Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) Since 1994, Dr. Manary has made it his life’s work to eradicate childhood malnutrition in Africa and has since become known as one of the world’s foremost experts in childhood malnutrition. Dr. Manary was at the forefront of the advent of ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF), an energy-dense, peanut butter paste with proven efficacy treating children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) His work also includes the development and introduction of new food crops and integrating nutrition care in HIV treatment programs.


The Cellular Immunotherapy Center at City of Hope was first established as a small research lab in the late 1990s with the dream of developing novel cellular therapies that specifically target tumor cells. Since these early days, through the leadership of Drs. Stephen Forman and Christine Brown, and the wonderful support of City of Hope Leadership, the research has grown into the translational therapy program known today as the Cellular Immunotherapy Center.

One of the most promising areas of cancer research and treatment right now is known as immunotherapy, in which a patient’s own immune system is enlisted in the fight against cancer. City of Hope has made Cellular Immunotherapy a central component of their groundbreaking research and clinical trials currently underway.

Through the Cellular Immunotherapy Center, City of Hope continues to be at the forefront of a powerful form of immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Using this approach, immune cells are taken from a patient’s bloodstream, reprogrammed to recognize and attack a specific protein found in cancer cells, then reintroduced into the patient’s system, where they get to work destroying targeted tumor cells.

Knowledge Sharing
4th Annual Award Winner


Manu Prakash, PhD, Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, M.S. MIT in Applied Physics, B. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering. Nominated for: Leader in the frugal design movement. developing global health solutions, leveraging smartphone technology and emerging manufacturing techniques such as 3D printers, laser cutters and conductive ink printing. Contributions include, an electromagnetic patch that non-invasively detects live parasitic worms in infected patients, a fully functional paper microscope, which costs less than a dollar in materials, that can be used for diagnosing blood-borne diseases such as malaria, African sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and Chagas and an ultra-low-cost oral cancer screening tool that attaches to a smartphone.
He is also exploring how to use these tools generate jobs and build the infrastructure to provide these services locally.

Environmental Improvement
4th Annual Award Winner


Environmental Engineering, CalTech, Project Scientist, NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory -3. Nominated for: NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory -3 (OCO-3), which watches the Earth breath from space by determining the sources emitting CO2 into the atmosphere and the natural processes that absorb it at the surface with precision and accuracy. Dr. Elderling plays a critical role in the implementation of these pioneering systems and is developing a new measurement system to provide more frequent coverage and retrieval of additional greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Disaster Relief and Recovery
4th Annual Award Winner


International Development, University of Manchester. Affiliated Expert, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Co-founder/Exec. Dir. Field Ready. Nominated for: FIELD READY: Pioneers new approaches to manufacturing aid supplies where they are needed, bypassing huge portions of the regular supply chain by transforming logistics through technology, innovative design and engaging people in new ways and new partnerships. They support families to recover more quickly after crises, help aid workers to be more effective, generate local livelihoods and increase resilience capacities, saving time, money and lives.