rebelling against low expectations

Nathan Han, Age 15: Created Software Tool That Predicts Cancer-Causing DNA Mutations


(HuffPo) — 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 minding-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.

Watch above.

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.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live segment on the Intel Science Engineering Fair at the

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →