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Sunand Achieves For His Chosen Cause

Date: 16-12-2015
Author: Sunand Kannappan

Calgarian Teen's Awesome Research Into Cancer

Sunand Kannappan is a 16 year old from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Currently in Grade 11, studying at Sir Winston Churchill High School, Sunand Kannappan is an avid science enthusiast who has travelled across the country to present his work on lung cancer at conferences and science fairs. Since grade 9, his research has been ranked as the Top 10 youth science projects of his age group in Canada, rewarding him with scholarships from both the University of Western Ontario and University of Calgary at the age of just 15. As a researcher at the University of Calgary (Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute), Sunand has a passion for science that doesn't stop at books. For the past two years, he has spent countless hours in the lab, working on his project which investigates novel methods of diagnosis and treatment of Non-Small Lung Cancer. However, Sunand finds great satisfaction in spreading his love for STEM through communication. As an enthusiastic debater, on Team Alberta, having represented Alberta at national competitions, Sunand has the skill of conveying intricate and powerful messages in a captivating and moving way.

Sunand was born on 16 March 1999 in Chennai, India. He moved to Windsor, Ontario, Canada at the age of 3 to start the next chapter of his life, residing in Ontario for nearly 8 years. During his time in Windsor, his first major fascinations were chess and karate. Sunand was competing locally at both chess and karate by the time he was 10 years old. Sunand told Eduzine Global "I enjoyed the analytical aspect of both of these interests and enjoyed them thoroughly."

From a young age, Sunand developed a keen interest in math and science and read extensively on topics that he enjoyed. As an only child, friends were a significant part of his life, growing up in Windsor. At the age of 10, having completed 6th grade, Sunand left everything behind and moved with his family to Calgary, Alberta. Sunand said "My first science fair was in my first year in Calgary. I studied oil extraction processes and won a Geoscience award from the University of Calgary Geology Department. For the next few years, I shifted my focus to cancer research, starting with evaluating existing methods. Soon after, I began my research in Grade 9 at the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, developing more effective diagnosis and treatment methods for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Despite the prevalence of NSCLC, with over 1.4 million deaths annually, NSCLC survival rates are notoriously low. Acknowledging the need for more effective treatment and diagnosis methods which target molecular mechanisms of NSCLC, this project focuses on the CDK5RAP2 enzyme. CDK5RAP2 was found to be upregulated in NSCLC cell lines, while having high potential of contributing to NSCLC through investigated Mad2 and CDK5 pathways."

Sunand travelled across Canada for the National Science Fair CWSF 2014 & 2015, ranking in the top 10 projects of his age group, for both years. Additionally, Sunand presented his research at innovation conferences including Innovate Calgary and the AsTech Gen Showcase. He also became involved in debating, as a member of Team Alberta for two years 2014 and 2015. This involved travelling extensively and across the country for the national debate tournament, ranking in the Top 20, and Top 10 in the nations, respectively.

Sunand lists his interests as Science, Debating, Classical and Modern Vocal Music, Politics, Public Speaking, Basketball, Volunteerism. He also informed us about some other interesting facts about himself:

  • I don’t have any pets, but I love dogs and hope to get one soon.
  • I enjoy music, and sing classical and pop music.
  • I also enjoy basketball, having played for both scholastic and non-scholastic leagues in my city.
  • I am a fan of thriller movies, especially with Christian Bale, and by director Christopher Nolan.
  • I enjoy learning about current events and policy making of our nations.
  • I enjoy volunteering for causes I care about and have volunteered at the Salvation Army Centre in Calgary Central, and also at Senior Citizen Centres.
  • I am also on the Youth Council for CCSAB – (Canadian Cancer Society) and enjoy helping the society promote their cause and work.
  • I enjoy Calgarian life with cold winters, beautiful views, amazing people and a wonderful opportunity for young people to succeed.

Eduzine Global is delighted to announce that Sunand joins our awesome team of Global Young ambassadors. We are thrilled to have Sunand on board and look forward to hearing much more about his scientific research, discoveries and achievements, in the future.

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Date: 16-12-2015
Author: Sunand Kannappan


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