LIVINGSTON, NJ - Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayydaurai said that at 14, in 1978, he developed software that led to the world’s first email system. His work stemmed from his experience in a computer science program at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at NYU and as a Research Fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He received a copyright (equal to a patent, since copyright was the only way to protect software inventions at the time), the first in the United States, in 1982, and continued his education to receive four degrees from MIT including one Bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science, two Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and visual studies, and one Ph.D. in systems biology from the Department of Biological Engineering.
Now, Ayyadurai is using his research to attempt to change the world for the better by posing a multi-million dollar challenge to the Monsanto Company: if Monsanto can disprove his research and prove that there are indeed adequate safety assessment standards for genetically-modified organisms, as concluded in Ayyadurai’s paper published in the journal Agricultural Sciences, Ayydaurai will sign over his $10 million building in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His mission is to bring awareness to the public and begin a conversation about a potentially catastrophic health issue.
“The truth is there are no standards for assessing the safety assessment of GMOs,” Ayydaurai stated in an interview with TAP. “Let me repeat—there are no standards for assessing the safety of GMOs. And, when I say standards, I mean rigorous engineering type protocols, procedures, processes, as which occurs in every other industry, to follow a replicable and methodological process to measure, document and reach tangible conclusions. Right now, NO such standards exist. It's all self-reporting, arbitrary and without any real framework. It's incredible and shocking that I've got to shout this point this loud to get this entire issue to a rational discourse.”
His journey to taking on Monsanto began in 2003, when he returned to pursue doctoral research in systems biology at MIT. In 2014, he saw a front-page article in the MIT Technology Review, headlined “Buy Fresh, Buy GMO.”
“I became very concerned—why was MIT overtly supporting GMOs when there was very little research done on their safety?” said Ayyadurai. “I was frankly shocked.”
In 2007, his doctoral work resulted in a new invention, CytoSolve, which Ayydaurai describes as “the electronic version of the human cellular system including genes, proteins, and reactions.”
Ayyadurai and his team have used CytoSolve to model cancer pathways and neurological, liver, and lung diseases. It has also been used to create a new multi-combination medicine for pancreatic cancer.
“In 2014, we realized that we could use CytoSolve to explore if genetic engineering of a foreign gene disturbs foundational mechanisms,” said Ayyadurai. “We wanted to move the GMO controversy to a scientific, not an activist or political discourse.”
Using CytoSolve, Ayyadurai’s research showed that genetic engineering does disturb foundational mechanisms, namely a high level of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and a depletion of glutiathone, an anti-oxidant critical to the process of cellular detoxification, in genetically-modified soy. Ayyadurai also noted a lack of substantial safety standards for GMOs on a federal level.
“Monsanto is very competent in executing a massive public relations campaign that includes buying off professors at major universities, using them to attack any scientist that exposes issues with GMOs as ‘anti-science,’” he stated. “It’s time we expose their ‘competency,’ which is undermining the foundations of scientific ethics and behavior, leading to a priesthood of academics, who think truth is secondary to profit.”
Ayyadurai’s criticism of Monsanto also lies on a personal level that relates back to his childhood in India.
He explained: “India has a caste system, like the apartheid system of South Africa. The Untouchables and Sudras are at the bottom, with the priests and religious leaders on top. Well, I come from one of the lower castes of India, fluctuating between Untouchable and Sudra, so this is very personal to me. So, in India, Monsanto ran a campaign to tell the Untouchables that the upper caste was trying to screw them by denying them GMO technology. Incredible—they were using the caste system and its oppressed majority to be their sales people for GMOs. That's how they specifically and deliberately work, while knowing that there are no standards for assessment of GMO safety, to manipulate all of us to think they are doing the world some amazing service.”
He said his research and experience urged him to what he saw as the only option to make his point: putting his $10 million Cambridge building on the line.
“I saw no alternative,” Ayydaurai said. “The pro-GMO elements, on one side, are just paid off goons ranting and raving about how great GMOs are and how safe they are. On the anti-GMO side, you have people similarly ranting and raving, promoting conspiracy theories that the FDA has deemed GMOs safe because there is collusion between them and Monsanto.”
He continued, “But neither side is focusing on the real issue—the truth is the FDA has not taken any position on the safety of GMOs. This is the fact that has been completely ignored and not addressed.”
Ayyadurai has posed his challenge in order to finally address and expose the issue.
“Given I'm fortunate to have made tens of millions of dollars, and I owe nothing to any funders, as many scientists in academia are enslaved by, I decided to make this challenge so the media would get their head out of their proverbial backside and go to the heart of the issue, and highlight this global and public health issue of the lack of standards for GMOs.”
He stated that he will keep raising the stakes as high as he can to make his point: “They can have everything I have, which is far more than $10 million, if they can prove that standards exist.”
Ayyadurai is currently organizing a Standards Committee to help build the standards to which he has openly invited Monsanto officials. He hopes that officials will participate in the development of the standards to work toward a brighter and healthier future for GMOs.
“Will they?” he asked. “I dare them.”
To learn more about Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai and his projects click here: VA Shiva.