Stratford Academy junior researches cancer in free time

Athni is already researching cancer as a junior in high school / Brittany Collins (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- One Macon teenager is getting a jump start in his career of cancer research

Looking at his resume, you might think Tejas Athni is a college student and his hobbies are to better the world.

The Stratford Academy junior started doing research on plant bio technology in the 8th grade.

"This plant research basically took me this year to tackle on cancer," Athni said. "So my plant research from a new angle."

During his school breaks, Tejas does research at Fort Valley State University with professors. In conjunction with Karmanos Cancer institute in Detroit.

"At the end of my study I found out this leaf abstract actually inhibits the growth of GB brain tumor cells," Athni said.

He wrote a research paper and submitted it to the american academy of neurology an was nominated as a top 15 national finalist.

Tejas is just getting started.

"That's why in the future I'll be working to identify the certain compound which is destroying the growth of these brain cancer cells," Athni said.

Tejas credits his Stratford Academy teachers for pushing him to think outside of the box--just like Susan Hanberry-Martin.

"Tejas is one of those rare students who will take anything that's offered and take it another level and that's several levels farther," Martin said.

"All of the stuff I do in the lab is probably complemented by the stuff I do in the classroom here," Athni said.

Outside of his studies, Tejas plays on the tennis team, runs his own online magazine and teaches CPR.

"I teach students here at Stratford and hopefully I'm able to teach students at middle and high schools in Bibb County as well," Athni said.

The top four students will be notified in January and will present their research in the spring in Boston.

Tejas hopes to major in biomedical engineering or another science-related field in college.

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