While scientists and researchers across the globe have been burning the midnight oil to formulate cures for debilitating diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s but to no respite, one Bengaluru teenager’s scientific ‘breakthrough’ could be the next best thing to fight the dreaded maladies.
Samay Godika, a class 10 student of Bengaluru’s National Public School, will be representing the country on a global front through the Breakthrough Junior Challenge with his illuminating video on the self-cleansing mechanism of Autophagy.
One amidst the 14 finalists sieved out of more than 8,000 of entries from across the world, Samay’s video talks about the physiological process in the body that deals with the destruction of cells in the body. The original discovery of Autophagy had won the Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi a Nobel prize in 2016.
The budding science enthusiast was inspired into researching various preventive care mechanisms, as many of his relatives had been victims of neurological diseases.
“This is how I came across the topic. If Autophagy is executed regularly, it can have the power to prevent (not cure, just prevent) diseases such as Cancer and Alzheimer’s,” he explained to YourStory.
An avid YouTuber, Samay’s video depicts Autophagy as the protagonist with superhero-like abilities, taking the viewer through an animated story that presents comprehensive scientific knowledge laced with humour.
The international competition invites submissions from students between 13 and 18 years, which requires the aspirants to research, create and submit original videos on complex topics in the field of life sciences, physics, or mathematics.
These videos are then judged on their ability to engage and inform the viewers along with the level of creativity and difficulty they have been made with. The videos were also posted on Facebook for public voting under the ‘Popular Vote’ contest. And with more than 32,000 likes, shares and positive reactions on his post on the Breakthrough Facebook page, Samay had clinched the top position!
Samay is the only Indian who has ever made it to the finals. If he can win the challenge, he will be awarded a college scholarship worth $250,000 along with a sum of $100,000 for setting up a science lab in his school.
The annual competition, which is sponsored by the founders of Facebook, Google and Khan Academy, was instated to instil creative thinking amidst young and budding scientists in the field of science.
Samay has another credit to his name. Selected by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their Launch Entrepreneurship Programme 2017, he went on to co-found Memorably, a company, which curates photobooks of grandchildren for their grandparents.
Having reached so far, the boy is elated and looks forward to the final stage of the competition. With eminent personalities, Shashi Tharoor, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Minister of IT-BT, Karnataka Priyank Kharge vouching for him on Twitter, Samay deems it to be an honour to represent his country at a global platform and aspires to win the Breakthrough Challenge.