Q and A with a local science prodigyWoodbury has its own young prodigy in Prithwis Mukhopadhyay. The Woodbury High School junior has become well known in and outside of Woodbury when it comes to excelling in science and research at such a young age.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury has its own young prodigy in Prithwis Mukhopadhyay. Mukhopadhyay, 16, a junior at Woodbury High School, has become well known in and outside of Woodbury when it comes to excelling in science and research at such a young age.
Mukhopadhyay has received numerous awards and recognitions for his many accomplishments.
This summer alone Mukhopadhyay has spent 605 hours at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center located at the University of Illinois-Chicago, for his most recent research project, which hopes to prove the cancer-causing effects of a commonly used food additive.
Mukhopadhyay’s research has earned him the praise from many research professionals and a $10,000 fellowship from the Davidson Institute.
The Woodbury Bulletin recently sat down with Mukhopadhyay to talk about his research, his future goals, his love of science and his pastimes.
Woodbury Bulletin: Give us an update on your current research project.
Prithwis Mukhopadhyay: Right now I’m continuing on that same research, I was working on it during my summer break this year. It’s elaborating on the molecular mechanisms how this lysosomal enzymes leads to pre-malignant transformation of mammary cells.
I saw that on my last project, I showed that arylsulfatase B, this lysosomal enzyme, increases sulfuric compounds called chondroitin sulfate, and this year I showed that an increase in chondroitin sulfate leads to two independent actions, an increase of row a activation, which is a protein, and then also an increase of mnP9 secretion, which is another enzyme, leads to an increase in invasion which is the starting of cancer, so pre-malignant transformation.
WB: Why were you interested in cancer research?
PM: A couple of years ago two of my very close relatives actually died from cancer. From there, I wanted to do something with cancer research. It’s fascinating to me.
WB: How much longer do you want to continue on your research?
PW: I would love to work on it even longer, but for the next step of this project it would be actual animal cells but, I won’t be able to do that until I get a certain age and approved to do that.
What are your career aspirations?
Something with medical science, IT and computer science and mathematics. So something like nanotechnology, I don’t know that much about nanotech.
How did you first get interested in science?
Mr. Jasiczek, my Lake Junior High science teacher. He was one of the main people who really inspired me to go into science. Prior to that, science was just another class.
What do you find fascinating about science?
That it has infinite possibilities; you can do something every time and then do it a different way and you can always come up with something new. It’s never ending you can learn everything and learn a lot.
Do you struggle in any subject in school?
I guess I struggle in history sort of, I don’t like memorizing. Any subject that involves lots of memorizing, I really don’t tend to enjoy as much.
Do you struggle with Sudoku and brain teaser games like everyone else?
I enjoy doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Those are one of my favorite things to do, especially when I’m on the plane. I can do them pretty quick, I’m not like a professional or anything. I really enjoy doing Rubik’s Cubes, I’m currently trying to solve the 4x4.
For more Q and A with Prithwis Mukhopadhyay pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Aug. 19 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.