SAN DIEGO - Canyon Crest Academy senior Eric Chen will present his award-winning research on potential new drugs to treat influenza at Tuesday's White House Science Fair.
Following the 2009 swine flu outbreaks, Chen decided there was something he could do to help, and took on a research project aimed at finding ways to protect people from such dangerous influenza viruses as H5N1 and H7N9.
Chen combined computer modeling with structural studies and biological validation to find a way to inhibit endonuclease, an enzyme essential for viral propagation. The use of supercomputers allowed Chen to conduct the research faster and more efficiently than conventional methods.
Chen's work may lead to a new class of drugs to control flu outbreaks during a pandemic, allowing time for a vaccine to be developed.
Chen was the grand prize winner at the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology and finished first in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search.
Watch his video for the 2013 Google Science Fair below:
The 18-year-old Chen plans to study computer science, bioengineering and mathematics in college, hoping to become a professor or entrepreneur developing innovative technologies.