Inspiration from teen researcher

The 19-year-old Brittany Wenger of Sarasota, Florida won the 2012 Google Science Fair’s Grand Prize for her innovative breast cancer research. This young woman was recently invited to address the Royal Society of Medicine in London about using artificial intelligence to teach computers to diagnose cancer. Brittany, who was also honoured last December as one of Time’s “30 People Under 30 Changing the World,” built an artificial neural network to detect patterns in a large database of breast tissue samples, creating a low-cost and highly accurate method for diagnosing breast cancer.

Brittany designed her program while in high school and tested it in 7.6 million trials, determining that it successfully helped doctors detect more than 99% of malignant tumors using a minimally-invasive procedure. She was inspired to work on this project after her cousin was diagnosed with the disease.

Since receiving Google’s Grand Prize Award two years ago, this innovative young researcher has continued her efforts to make diagnosing cancer easier, cheaper, and more accurate. She built a custom, cloud-based “artificial neural network” to help diagnose patients with an aggressive form of leukemia called mixed-lineage leukemia or MLL. Brittany, who wants to be a pediatric oncologist and research scientist, recently completed her first year at Duke University.

To read more about Brittany’s recent accomplishments on the BBC, visit or watch a TED talk by Brittany where she explains her award-winning breast cancer research at

To find out more about inspirational young women like Brittany, go to A MightyGirl


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