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For Shree, there is no end to learning. As a kid playing in sprinklers, each droplet of water held a fascination for her and every bug she ran shrieking away from had a story. She has been participating in science fairs since her first project—she turned spinach blue—to her project on drug resistance in ovarian cancer. Shree’s scientific journey is about more than gaining knowledge, it’s about holding onto awe and a sense of wonder in her approach to problems. This awe led to her interest in biology and the study of life, and to her involvement in cancer research at age 15. She believes that it will be the same awe that will help her to achieve her dreams of becoming a medical researcher and physician.
Her supervised research for her award-winning project involved the study of a particular protein, AMP kinase, of interest in cancer cells. Through tests on inhibiting this protein’s activity, her research determined its extreme importance in the development of chemotherapy resistance. She proposed a new way to treat resistant patients when they no longer respond to the chemotherapy drug. For the over 240,000 patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer, this research will reduce the recurrence rates in patients treated with particular chemotherapy drugs.
Shree was honored as the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural Google Global Science Fair, and has showcased her research to President Obama, NIH directors, and as a speaker at the Google Zeitgeist Conference in Phoenix and TEDxWomen. She is a recipient of the GDIAAC Youth Achievement Award given by the Indian Minister of Commerce and was named one of Glamour Magazine’s 21 Amazing Women of the Year in 2011. She hopes to pursue a future career in science and medicine at Harvard, where she is a member of the Class of 2016.