Genius middle school student helps to create MRSA vaccine
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Can geometry help you play better ping pong? Moody Middle School student Cameron Sharma hopes it can help him beat his sister in a few games in the family garage.
"I'll hit at the right angle so that it doesn't bounce up," Cameron said. "It'll just bounce down. It's very effective."
What about physics?
"There's not enough time to calculate. Way too fast of a game to calculate."
RELATED: Middle school math whiz helps create vaccine
Cameron may not have any ping pong trophies, but the math awards keep multiplying.
The 7th grader recently scored a perfect 800 in the math SAT.
Based on that performance, and similar standardized tests, he was offered a $160,000 college scholarship.
In addition, Johns Hopkins University has enrolled him into its mentorship program for exceptionally gifted children.
Cameron's father, Shekhar Sharma, knew his son had a gift for numbers.
It surfaced when Cameron was only three years old, during a bingo game at a family reunion.
"He would give out half a dozen cards to everybody," Sharma said. "Then he would roll the number and he knew what number every card had. So he would tell you, 'You have that number on your card.'"
Cameron learned trigonometry in 3rd grade and differential calculus in 5th.
Two months ago, he represented the Central Virginia Chapter in the State MathCounts Competition where he scored the highest for the Chapter.
Cameron won first prize in this year's Metro Richmond Science Fair.
With all of those accomplishments, this might be the one that tops them all.
Cameron invented a mathematical model for designing the seasonal flu vaccine utilizing his knowledge in virology, immunology, genetics, and computer programming.
Using the flu virus strains from the last 100 years, he calculated the genetic constitution of the 2017-18 flu vaccine.
His model stood the ultimate test when The World Health Organization/CDC announced the vaccine for the 2017-18 flu season – it was a perfect match!
"As we saw this year, so many people were getting the flu, even though we have a vaccine," Cameron said. "I thought it would be interesting to see how I could help to maybe fix that."
Cameron is planning to continue his research this summer in collaboration with the professors at Johns Hopkins and publish his results in peer-reviewed journals. You can follow his research at his website www.FutureFlu.org.
This summer he plans to help his father in his work to develop a vaccine for MRSA.
But first, he'll take some time off from the school year like a lot of other kids. At the top of his summer to-do list -- lots of ping pong.