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Dr. Cyrus Mehta

Distinguished Alumnus
2016
President and Co-founder of Cytel Inc.
B.Tech, 1967, Civil Engineering

Dr. Cyrus Mehta, is the President and Co-founder of Cytel Inc., and Adjunt Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University.

Dr. Mehta earned his B.Tech. degree in Civil Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1967, his S.M. degree in Management Science and his PhD in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970 and 1973 respectively. 

In 1973, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught courses in Statistics and Statistical Decision Theory.  In 1977, Dr. Mehta left the University of Pittsburgh and joined Harvard School of Public Health as Post Doctoral Fellow in Biostatistics and worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.  In 1979, he joined the faculty at Harvard TC Chan School of Public Health as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Biostatistics.  He also served as a clinical trials Statistician for major oncology trials sponsored by the US National Cancer Institute.

With Operations Research as the background, Dr. Mehta together with his MIT Colleague Mr. Nitin Patel, developed fast numerical algorithms for accurate test of efficacy and safety of cancer drugs.  He founded Cytel Inc, in 1987, which was a spin-off from this Harvard research with a mission to develop software and services for clinical drug development. Over the years Cytel has developed industry standard statistical software for designing and monitoring clinical trials in flexible ways so as to assign  more patients to better treatments and get new drugs to market faster.  Starting from a four-person operation in Dr. Mehta's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cytel has grown into a 600-person company with offices in USA, Europe and India.

Dr. Mehta has won several awards. A few of which are: George W. Snedecor award for the best paper in Biometry – Joint award from the American Statistical Association in 1989; Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1995; Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Small Business Award – Awarded to Cytel in 1999; Fredrick Mosteller Statistician of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association in 2000; Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce in 2003;  and Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Indian Statistical Association in 2015.

“The pace at IIT was extremely rapid and we had to take a lot of tests. To succeed, you had to be quick, accurate and understand the fundamentals. I was not always quick or accurate. But I always made sure I understood the fundamentals. This training served me well. In later life I realized that understanding the fundamentals is more important than doing well on tests “---Dr. Cyrus Mehta.

Blurb: "Take your time, dive deeply into your projects, and understand the fundamentals thoroughly. Don't be satisfied with a superficial surface understanding. You can only love something if you know it well. And then you will find that original ideas come to you for taking the next steps."