Fifteen-year-old Nathan Han received the prestigious Gordon E. Moore award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is the largest international pre-college science competition, for his creation of a software tool that can "identify and predict cancer-causing mutations in a person's DNA."
"I did this by mining mutation data from online public domain databases and then performing statistical analysis on how those mutations changed certain properties of proteins," explained the teen scientist to HuffPost Live in a recent visit.
While Han walked away with the $75,000 prize and the title as winner, he said this is certainly not something he was expecting. In fact, he got quite discouraged along the way as he had difficulties finding a laboratory research mentor because of his young age.
"I actually got rejected from a bunch of internships for liability reasons since I’m 15 and you have to be 16 apparently for a lot of opportunities like that," Han said. "But I think the main message is don’t be afraid to follow your dreams even if something unfortunate like that or obstacles happen."
Correction: A previous version of this story spelled "mining" as "minding". This typo has been corrected.
Watch the full HuffPost Live segment on the Intel Science Engineering fair below: