The Davidson Institute of Talent Development has announced the 2015 Davidson Fellows. Among the honorees is 16-year-old Vineet Kosaraju of Saratoga, Calif. Vineet won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his project, Towards Rational RNA Therapeutics: 3D RNA Engineering in a Massive Open Laboratory. He is one of only 20 students from across the country to receive this honor.
Vineet’s project focused on RNA, which is found everywhere in life from humans to bacteria. This molecule is relevant to current research not only because it is so prevalent in life, but also because it can be used to fight disease such as vision degeneration, create RNA vaccines, destroy viral genes, and combat cancer. However, it is being underutilized because trial and error is currently the method of choice to find new RNA therapeutics. Vineet created an interface that allows for the design of accurate 3D RNA molecules. “My project focuses on fixing the limitations of 2D RNA structuring by creating an interface to design 3D RNAs and discovering its folding rules so that scientists can design RNAs without using expensive trial and error processes,” Vineet said. “By analyzing RNA designs synthesized in vitro, I was able to create three rules that govern the stability of the tertiary structure, the first of their kind.”
Vineet is a rising senior at The Harker School in San Jose, Calif. Apart from learning from the advanced coursework at his high school, he enjoys his Stanford lab work, and volunteering and teaching at MathAndCoding, a non-profit he co-founded. Vineet hopes to attend a college that has, among numerous academic and extracurricular offerings, a strong computer science curriculum with an undergraduate research program.
Vineet serves on his local congresswoman’s student advisory board, and participates in his school’s Honor Council and Research Club. In 2014, he was a Siemens Competition regional finalist and has participated in the USA Computing Olympiad Gold Division for the past couple of years. When he is not busy with school and research, Vineet enjoys hanging out with friends and family, playing the piano, and enjoying a round of golf with his brother.