Zach Bjornson-Hooper: Whiz Kid

zach bjornson hooper
Credit: Brian Cairns

Last year's whiz kid and cover boy, Zach Bjornson-Hooper, is now a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "My schedule has tightened up a lot since I became a student here," admits the biological engineering major-to-be (who's aiming for an additional degree in music). Still, that doesn't stop him from helping plan the next youth conference for the United Nations Environment Programme, an international forum on environmental conservation, as well as work a research job in a biotechnology lab on campus.

During his first semester at MIT, he was attempting to enhance cell-free protein expression with peptides created by his lab's director. This spring, he and a group of scientists have been exploring the microscopic goings-on of our complex olfactory systems, and Bjornson-Hooper's job is to optimize production of a specific protein integral to this smelly process. Not bad for a first year.

Next Still Daring 2007 profile > Carol Flexer

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Sara Bernard is a former staff writer and multimedia producer for Edutopia.

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