Home >> Sci & Tech

Teen awarded for creating machine learning software to detect cancer

Boston teenager Nathan Han was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool which can be used to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer.

Han was awarded at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.

Han used data available in public databases and analyzed them to examine detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene and taught his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not.

Han found that his tool was 81 percent accurate and it could be used to identify the threats of cancer from BRCA1 gene mutations more accurately. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000. This award has been named honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

15-yer-old Lennart Kleinwort from Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of $50,000. Kleinwort has succeeded in developing a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets.

"The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity."

Over 1,700 young scientists participated in this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The participants were from over 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a $5,000 prize.

"In congratulating Nathan, Lennart, and Shannon, we join with Intel in seeing great hope in their research, and that of all of our Intel ISEF finalists," said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public.

"Not only are they working to discover solutions for society's challenges, they importantly serve as an inspiration for younger students and encourage them to become involved in the amazing world of hands-on science and engineering."