Shubhranshu (Dew) Dutta, a junior in the Hunterdon County Vocational School District’s Biomedical Sciences Academy (BSA), is among the very few high school students set to present at PharmaSUG 2021.
Dutta’s research abstract on disease detection through the use of retinal scan images impressed administrators of the upcoming virtual conference. He chose the complex topic after a routine visit to his eye doctor.
As Dew watched his eye doctor visually inspect images of his eyes to contrast them with others, he wondered, “What if there was a way to more accurately, quickly, and consistently compare two retinal images to find regions of anomaly?”
He devised an approach that would automate the process through the use of machine learning techniques to do just that – and the concept for his research was born.
Dew’s interest in bettering eye health has been shaped by personal experiences. He has been driven to learn more, discovering how recent advances in machine learning techniques and the improvement of computational power have unleashed the potential for their application for rapid, accurate, and consistent diagnoses of eye diseases.
“I have always been keen to learn more about machine learning as well as how it can be used in different ways for biomedical research – especially its applications in ophthalmic research,” he said. “As a high school student, there aren’t too many ways to explore those concepts. I came across PharmaSUG while searching for platforms that delved deeper in that realm, and the administrators were kind enough to allow me to submit an abstract to share my ideas at their conference.”
Many conference participants are life scientists and health research professionals focused on the application of technological solutions in data analytics and regulatory support. The majority are part of PharmaSUG, a Software Users Group. Dew’s focused studies through HCVSD’s BSA have prepared him to hold his own among the other attendees.
He is both humbled and excited to participate. “I feel very lucky to have been accepted to such a conference, regardless of my age, as I have a chance to learn more about the field while sharing my own ideas.”
“Dew is an intelligent and motivated young man. He is constantly challenging himself and seeking out new opportunities to expand his knowledge,” said Dr. Donna Badgwell, instructor of the Biomedical Sciences Academy. “He understands the value of taking advantage of career-growth opportunities and has developed an admirable passion rooted in enhancing technologies that could help generations to come.”