A desire to study robotics has prompted a group of high school student studying cancer breakthroughs instead to apply their knowledge of computer algorithms to cancer data.
A small group of students at Dawson School is teaching up with a program at Baylor college of medicine and performing research that is usually done by college students and professionals. Students are writing the computer algorithms that are applied to vast databases of cancer patients. The goal is to find patterns or ties that could possibly lead to improved treatments and early detection.
“It’s a structure that breaks from traditional (high school) academia,” said Erik Nickerson, a Dawson math and physics teacher. “These students do that well.”
The Lichtarge Cancer Collaborative Program was suggested to Nickerson by a former student, Stephen Wilson, who is now a graduate student at Baylor. Wilson suggested to Nickerson that his students whould participate, and the students chose the cancer program from a list of possible projects.
“This one had the biggest puzzle behind it,” said Sage Thomas, a Dawson senior. “It’s a pretty complex process.”