Young scientists Napassorn Litchiowong, Chris Tidtijumreonpon and Wattanapong Uttayota traveled approximately 8,700 miles to compete as a team at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia last year. The team members are currently 12th graders at The Prince Royal’s College in Chiang Mai, Thailand — a city known for its rich cultural heritage and picturesque mountainous surroundings.
At the 2022 competition, they were was awarded the $50,000 Gordon E. Moore Award for Positive Outcomes for Future Generations, supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. They were recognized for their creation of a faster and more accurate way to diagnose a type of liver fluke infection that can lead to bile duct cancer in humans — a disease commonly found in Asian countries. They built and trained neural network software to identify the parasite’s eggs in microscopic fecal images with 98% accuracy and developed a rapid screening questionnaire that was 91% accurate.
Reflecting on their success at Regeneron ISEF, the team remarked, “It makes us feel like anything really is possible, with time and commitment. With time and commitment, new innovations will be made. With time and commitment, problems will be solved, and questions will be answered.” To other young scientists interested in STEM, they offer this encouragement: “Keep digging. Answers to all the questions you have in this universe exist. They just haven’t been found yet!
Let’s hear more from Napassorn, Chris and Wattanapong below!
What about your experience at Regeneron ISEF surprised you most?
We were the most surprised by the Student Mixer event. There was a fun carnival, an inflatable bouncy ball playhouse, and a buffet. We enjoyed and danced to the music played by the DJ while shaking our heads with immense fun. It made us see the other side of young scientists’ lives, which don’t have to always be serious. From the student mixer, we’ve learned to find work-life balance!
What was your most memorable experience from Regeneron ISEF?
The award announcement. We didn’t think we would get such a huge award, so when we were called up for the Grand Awards, we thought that that was it. But the point is, it wasn’t. They called our team’s name again during the Top Award announcement. We were really shocked!!! If you saw us during the interview, we were still pretty shocked, even though we might have seemed calm, so our eyes might’ve darted around a lot, wondering whether this was real.
Which sci-fi advancement do you wish we had by now?
The team had three answers:
- Teleportation. Do you know how it feels to sit down and wait for an uncountable amount of time? Traveling to Regeneron ISEF this year, some of us had to sit in airplanes for over 20 hours. It really does not feel good to sit in such a cramped place for so long. Not to mention the fact that we couldn’t really sleep on the plane.
- Tropical places like Thailand need protection from angry mosquitoes.
- Iron Man suits, cause why not?
What would you invent if you had all the resources in the world?
We’d like to invent a bunch of things: a mushroom house or cottage, like in Minecraft, un-meltable ice cream, the Holy Bible, Earth v2 and finally the death star (-999-star credit). Lol, we’re just kidding! Now, here on Earth, we want to invent a transportable, genius smart-doctor machine, which can help cure any disease in just a few seconds. It will surely help save many more lives, especially in hard-to-reach places and during widely-and-rapidly-spreading pandemics like COVID-19.
What would you like to be most renowned for?
We would like to be renowned for making life easier or better for people in the future. Whether it be preventing deaths from bile duct cancer to creating robots that get water for us automatically when we are thirsty, we just want to give positive energy to people all around the world, to fulfill the part of our award title, “Positive Outcomes for Future Generations.”
Discover the incredible innovation and scientific brilliance at this year’s Regeneron ISEF in Dallas, Texas! Explore all the finalists’ projects at https://projectboard.world/isef and catch the Grand Awards Ceremony on May 19 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. CT, where the top $75,000 winner of will be announced: https://bit.ly/44GD7Hn. Can’t watch live? Catch it on-demand on YouTube. Join us in celebrating the next generation of scientists and engineers as they tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues!