Hickman High School junior Saathvik Kannan received a prize of $50,000 for his research working to model mutations in the mpox virus.
Kannan, 17, won one of two Regeneron Young Scientist Awards in the 2023 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, according to a news release. The competition, held last week in Dallas, is the largest precollege science and engineering fair in the world and received applicants from 49 states and 64 countries.
Kannan developed a program that combines deep learning — a type of machine learning used in many artificial intelligence applications — and three-dimensional protein modeling. His goal was to identify the specific mutations in the mpox virus protein that could contribute to increased infectivity, according to the release.
Kannan is no stranger to virus research. Since 2020, he has been researching and publishing articles alongside his research supervisor, Kamlendra Singh, an associate professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Kannan's research has focused on the differences among COVID-19 variants. The Missourian featured Kannan in the March special section, COMO Kids.