Texas teen becomes ‘America’s Top Young Scientist,’ finds molecule that could lead to cure for COVID-19

Local News

FRISCO, Texas (KETK)- A 14-year-old from Texas became America’s Top scientist after winning the 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Anika Chebrolu is an 8th grader at Nelson Middle School. The young scientist worked hard to try to find a cure for COVID-19.

Chebrolu found a molecule that can selectively attach to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. If researchers create a drug that can stop this protein, then this could prevent the virus from entering cells.

According to Frisco ISD, the 14-year-old was chosen as one of 10 finalists in the summer for the 3M/ Discovery Young Scientist Challenge. Because of this achievement, Chebrolu was able to work with a mentor throughout the summer. She was partnered with Mahfuza Ali and they used the scientific method to conduct their research.

Finally, Chebrolu presented her project to scientists and leaders in the field. Each finalist was assessed on their challenges and their final product.

“Our heartfelt congratulations go to this year’s winner, Anika Chebrolu,” said Denise Rutherford, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at 3M. “Amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, quality STEM education for all has become an even more urgent need.”

Chebrolu was the grand winner for 2020, and she received a $25,000 cash prize, the tile of “America’s Top Young Scientist” and a destination trip.

“I am extremely humbled at being selected America’s Top Young Scientist as all of the finalists had amazing projects and were extremely well-rounded individuals,” Chebrolu said. “Science is the basis of life and the entire universe and we have a long way to go understand it fully.”

The young girl said she wants to be a medical researcher and professor in 15 years.

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