Fifteen year old high school sophomore Jake Andraka created quite a stir last year when he unveiled a new test for pancreatic cancer that is dramatically cheaper, faster, and more sensitive than existing diagnostic methods. The test uses a simple paper dip-stick sensor that can detect extremely minute levels of a pancreatic cancer biomarker in blood or urine—potentially saving countless lives through early detection (pancreatic cancer is usually discovered too late for effective treatment, and is thus one of the most deadly cancers). Andraka came up with the idea for the test during freshman biology class in 2011, while he was surreptitiously reading a science research journal. After being rejected by nearly 200 researchers, he finally found a lab at Johns Hopkins that would host his research and in May of last year, he won first place at the prestigious 2012 Intel Science and Engineering Fair for his remarkable innovation. For more on Andraka and his invention see this Forbes interview and Smithsonian Magazine article.
Thanks Lori Dorn!