Athul Mohanram, a freshman at Centennial High School, was named a semi-finalist in Broadcom MASTERS®, the nation's premier science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition for middle school students. The contest is designed to inspire students to solve the challenges of the 21st century.
Mohanram has enjoyed scientific research and has been participating in various science fair competitions since he was in elementary school. Athul competed at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair before competing to be a semi-finalist.
His project “Drug Dosages and Variations in Genetic Metabolism” gives a small peek into the vast world of computational biology, analyzing variations in genetic metabolism and its impact on how we respond to medications.
“I analyzed the world’s largest publicly available genomic database for the metabolic genetic variations with over 61 million genetic variants from 26 regions across the world,” Mohanram said. “I was amazed to find that a full 80% of the sampled population were either poor and hyper-rapid metabolizers, who can’t be effectively treated by the recommended ‘average drug doses.’”
This led Mohanram to conclude that tailored drug dosages are indeed a medical necessity and not a luxury, particularly for life-saving treatments such as cancer and heart diseases.
Mohanram was selected from a pool of 2,537 applicants from 48 states and two U.S. territories who represented the top 10 percent of competitors in science fairs affiliated with the Society for Science & the Public, which produces Broadcom MASTERS®.
Projects were evaluated by a panel of distinguished scientists, engineers and educators and judged on their ability to engage in analysis of STEM data, as they relate to the real world.
Mohanram was also nominated to present his research paper at the Texas Junior Academy of Science at Texas A&M University and won third prize in the tournament.
“I hope to continue and grow more in the path of scientific research,” Mohanram said. “I am thankful to my teachers for their support and encouragement.”