As a student working at a Rush University lab during his senior year, the teen from Chicago’s South Side (Ashburn neighborhood) found a critical age-related drawback in an experimental vaccine aimed at preventing colon cancer in mice, according to a report from DNAInfo.
The current rising sophomore and biomedical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin Madison continues to follow his love for science and research a colon cancer vaccine that can be tested on the elderly, and ultimately, be a cure.
“I am very passionate about doing colon cancer research,” Stonewall said. “If it works on humans, I would be overwhelmed. My whole life would flash in front of me.”
Stonewall’s lab director at Rush University, Carl Ruby, said that Stonewall’s experiment helped scientists realize that they needed a special vaccine for older subjects. Ruby said Stonewall, “should be heralded for helping to develop more effective colon cancer treatments that will impact the elderly, the population that is most susceptible to colon cancer.”
Ruby added, ““He has all the tools. He will go far.”
Stonewall’s first tools were four microscopes he received one Christmas from his parents when he was in the fifth grade.
His passion to cure colon cancer was ignited during his freshman year at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, after the uncle of one of his good friends was diagnosed with it and eventually died. “Cancer has taken over a whole bunch of lives, and I felt like I needed to step up and do something about it,” said Stonewall.
According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, colon cancer is the third most common cancer among African American men and women. African Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer more than any other ethnic group and also have the highest death rates from the disease. Stonewall’s research is critically needed.
Stonewall has won numerous awards for his research and was a finalist for the Intel International Science and Engineer Fair in 2013.