(Germantown, TN) It’s been called the Super Bowl of science for high school students, and next month a Houston High School senior will be in the thick of the competition.
Sixteen-year-old Akshay Padmanabha is one of just 40 finalists who will take part in the Intel Science Talent Search in Washington, D.C.
Padmanabha says he’s been interested in science for as long as he can remember and at the age of nine became fascinated by the brain.
“In the fourth grade I was diagnosed with eye twitches and I was interested in the brain and started learning more about the brain,” said Padmanabha.
Now he’s being recognized alongside the country’s best and brightest young scientist for his research on the brain.
Specifically, how Vagus Nerve Stimulation, now used to prevent seizures, can be used to predict, detect and treat them.
“The problem with the Vagus Nerve Stimulation(implant) is it’s giving electrical impulses throughout a person life– where this will predict a seizure before it occurs and only gives the stimulation when it’s necessary. So, the side effects will not be there,” said Padmanabha.
Padmanabha conducted the research at the University of Memphis and in March will present his findings at the science competition, and may even meet President Obama.
Padmanabha is the valedictorian of his class and hopes to attend MIT to study science or engineering.
His principal says he’s an inspiration to the whole school.
“He is a great mentor for other students. They Look at what he has accomplished at such a young age,” said Principal Lesa Justus.
The winner of the Intel Science Talent Search will take home a $100,000 prize.
Padmanabha says there is no telling where his research could end up in the future.
“Most of these research papers get published and some even turn into patents,” said Padmanabha.
Padmanabha is the first student from Tennessee to take part in the competition and he will receive $8,500 just for being a finalist.
Previous finalist have gone on to win Nobel prizes.