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A teenager’s step toward nanomedicine innovation

In this Forbes interview, contributor John Nosta introduces us to a teen worth watching: fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka, whose effort to design a nanotube-based sensor for pancreatic cancer detection was initially ignored. The interview taps into some aspects of how innovation occurs and the challenges of bringing new ideas to fruition – aspects which transcend age, education level, and field of study. In Jack’s words:


I like to read a lot of journals and articles about different topics and then lie on the couch or take a walk and just let all the information settle. Then all of a sudden I can get an idea and connect some dots. Then it’s back to reading so I can fill in missing pieces.

[I] found the names and professional emails of lots of professors in my area who were working on pancreatic cancer…. Week after week I’d receive endless rejections. The most helpful one was actually from a researcher who took the time to point out every flaw and reason why my project was impossible.

One of my most world- expanding experiences came very quickly when I went to Singularity U in California. I met people who weren’t afraid of failure, but just used failure to say well that path didn’t work and moved on.

Stories like this are good reminders to value not only good ideas, but to value people who show propensity for innovation.
-Posted by Stephanie C

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