Age: 18Greenwich, CT
Project Title: Portable, Low-Cost Tattoo-Based Biosensor for the Non-Invasive Self-Diagnosis and Quantification of Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease are jointly considered the leading cause of death globally, accounting for nearly one third of all deaths around the world. Early diagnosis of the disease is essential in preventing the onset of severe cardiac events, such as heart attacks or strokes. However, no cost-effective or readily-accessible diagnostic technology currently exists; as a result, over 50% of cases are only first diagnosed after death as a result of a severe cardiac event. Therefore, this research involved the development of a cost-effective, portable, efficient, and readily-accessible tattoo-based biosensor for the early diagnosis and quantification of atherosclerosis and its disease progression. The patch is designed to be placed on the skin outside of the carotid bifurcation, and communicates diagnostic results to the patient within 70 minutes. Its limit of detection is as low as 0.059% arterial cross-sectional area, which allows for sensitive, robust early detection of the disease. Its low cost and ease-of-use allows for much wider accessibility and therefore significantly earlier therapeutic treatment of the disease in both developed and developing countries, thus significantly reducing the potential risk for cardiovascular disease.
William Yin is from the small town of Greenwich, Connecticut, right outside of New York City. He recently graduated from Greenwich High School, and will be attending Stanford University in the fall. Yin says he is incredibly honored to have been recognized as a Davidson Fellow, as it will allow him the chance to advance his research to practical application in clinics and hospitals. However, being a Fellow has also shown him that his research need not be confined to high school science fairs, but may serve as an avenue that he might pursue in furthering medical science around the world.
Atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease are jointly considered to be the leading cause of death globally, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths around the world, 80% of which occur in developing countries. However, no cost-effective or easily accessible means currently exist for early diagnosis of the disease; therefore, over 50% of atherosclerosis cases are only first diagnosed after death as a result of a heart attack or a stroke. Thus, Yin aimed to develop a tattoo-based biosensor patch for the early diagnosis of atherosclerosis and quantification of its progression. In clinical usage, the patch is designed to be placed on the skin on one side of the neck, and with a simple push of a button, an onboard circuit is activated and diagnostic results are communicated to the patient within 70 minutes. The patch is designed to be cost-effective, portable, and efficient, ultimately allowing for significantly wider global accessibility to early diagnostic technology for atherosclerosis.
The journey to completing his research was riddled with challenges and setbacks. Conducting biomedical research as a high school student in a high school laboratory presented its own unique set of challenges; without the immediate resources of a university laboratory, it was often necessary for Yin to independently form connections with local research organizations in order to gain access to the facilities and resources needed to advance his experimentation. This also meant that the overwhelming majority of his work was self-driven; William often learned to draw from his experiences in his biology, chemistry, or physics classes to craft his research, while also seeking the aid of his research mentor at his high school, Mr. Andy Bramante. Eventually, William successfully managed to come into contact with local professors, universities, and organizations, traveling around the tri-state area to work in a number of facilities and communicating with professors to ultimately produce his research as it stands today.
However, Yin's work is still far from complete. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has allowed him to further pursue his research so that he may eventually introduce his device to a clinical setting. In this way, William hopes for this cost-effective and portable biosensor to greatly expand global access to diagnostic technology for atherosclerosis. This will allow for a significant increase in early diagnosis and treatment of the disease in both developed and developing countries, thus substantially reducing the risk of death as a result of a severe cardiac event around the world.
During his four years at Greenwich High School, William took many of the same classes as his STEM-minded peers, including numerous honors and AP science and math courses across a variety of subjects. These courses provided the academic baseline upon which he based much of his research work. However, outside of these courses, one course that particularly stood out to Yin was his school’s science research course. Each year, this class gave William the chance to independently devise research ideas and then bring them to fruition through extensive literature review and experimentation on par with graduate level research. It was only through his years of experience working in that classroom at his high school that he was able to pursue this research to its completion. This fall, Yin will be attending Stanford University; though he has not yet decided what his major will be, he knows that research and innovation will continue to play a critical role in his studies.
Throughout high school, I have participated in numerous science fairs and competitions, placing numerous times at the Intel ISEF and ISWEEEP. This winter, I will be presenting my research at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar in Sweden during the Nobel Prize ceremony. Additionally, much of my time in high school was spent involved in music, either through leading sections in school ensembles, performing classical and jazz piano, or producing electronic music. I had also served as the leader of a number of clubs and organizations at the school and in the local community. Due to my accomplishments, I recently earned recognition as a U.S. Presidential Scholar. Though I am unsure of what the future holds, I imagine myself furthering my passion for innovation through entrepreneurship and research. However, I also plan to take my college years to broaden my scope and explore other fields in STEM to have a better idea of what I might eventually pursue as a career.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?The ability to resolve conflict and division
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?Warning: Often forgets to sleep
What is one of your favorite quotes?“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.” - Louis C.K.
In the News
8/28/17 - China Daily USA: Teen Awarded For Creating Medical Device8/22/17 - Greenwich Time: GHS Valedictorian Wins $25K For Scientific Research
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Started in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a 501(c)3 private operating foundation. Our mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people ages 18 and under, and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.