17 year old high school senior Angela Zhang just earned a $100,000 scholarship at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for designing a nanoparticle which targets cancer stem cells. It’s somewhat similar to this, but rather than attacking messenger RNA it instead delivers a dose of the drug salinomycin directly to the tumor cells. In addition, the nanoparticle is gold and iron-oxide based, so it can also be used to detect cancer with noninvasive means such as MRI and Photoacoustic imaging. A particle that delivers targeted doses of meds directly to affected cells, lessens side effects, helps prevent cancer resistance, and doubles as an MRI contrast solution to diagnose/monitor progress? Holy crap, that’s awesome.
Zhang said her research was partly motivated by losing her grandfather to lung cancer when she was in the seventh grade. She started working on the project when she was 15 and estimates she’s spent 1,000 hours researching. Her top school picks are Stanford and Harvard and she’s planning on majoring in physics or in chemical or biomedical engineering with hope to become a research professor. Whatever she does, it’ll be awesome. And, even if it’s not awesome, she still designed a nanoparticle already. She can pretty much eat Cheetos and play Halo for the next 70 years and she’s still ahead of the rest of us.
Oh man, this makes me feel so lazy. At age 17, she’s a high school senior who invented a cancer-fighting nanoparticle. When I was 17, I was just a sophomore in college OH IN YOUR FACE HIGH SCHOOLER. Seriously though, she totally wins. I just had to Google the correct spelling of “sophomore” and couldn’t find a nanoparticle even if you hid it in a bag of Cheetos, and I f–king love Cheetos.