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Mequon teen wins $50,000 scholarship for new approach to pharmaceutical drug development

Davidson Institute Staff Portraits 2009
Posted at 4:19 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 17:43:34-04

A Mequon teen has won a $50,000 scholarship for his project that would bring a new approach to pharmaceutical drug development using artificial intelligence.

Jacob Yasonik, 18, is a Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program winner for his project, Multiobjective De Novo Drug Design with Recurrent Neural Networks and Nondominated Sorting. He is one of 20 students across the country to win this award.

His artificial intelligence-based idea would generate drug-like molecules from scratch.
According to the press relase from the Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program, "Yasonik’s new artificial intelligence-based approach could significantly improve drug discovery by reducing the reliance on trial and error and pre-made molecular databases through a generative approach due to its unique ability to optimize for many molecular characteristics at once, which could result in far better success rates further along the pharmaceutical pipeline."

The scholarship program is considered one of the most prestigious in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Yasonik will be going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. He wants to continue his education in artificial intelligence and computational biology.

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