Cancer Institute member Fred Prior, Ph.D., served as mentor to Little Rock High School student Anu Iyer. Prior, who also serves as professor and chair of the UAMS Department of Biomedical Informatics, said her award-winning computer and research skills put her well ahead of her peers.
“Anu is one of the best programmers I’ve met in a while,” said Prior. “She’s very quick, very accurate, and her code is beautiful. I’m working with her like I would a graduate student, and that’s pretty amazing for someone in high school.”
Prior worked with Iyer as she interned at UAMS with support from a $3,360 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a more accurate machine learning tool for diagnosing multiple cancers by analyzing MRIs and pathology images. Her approach increased accuracy of diagnoses from less than 90% to nearly 96%. The work was published in November 2021 in the national Journal of Student Research.
The work also earned second place in the inaugural Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Special Award for Outstanding Cancer Research at the Arkansas State Science and Engineering Fair.