Tesoro junior presents at prestigious Global Health Leaders Conference

By CUSD Insider

A Tesoro High School junior is getting a head start on her medical career after presenting research on Alzheimer’s disease during a summer seminar.

Ayati Mishra, 16, participated in the virtual Global Health Leaders Conference, a prestigious summit by Johns Hopkins University with attendees that included Nobel Laureates, professors, doctors, researchers and students around the world.

Mishra gave a nearly 10-minute presentation on a specialized model for studying late-onset Alzheimer’s, which is the far more common form of the disease (95 percent) than the genetic-based, familial cases (5 percent). Specifically, she focused on the hAβ-KI Model, which stands for human amyloid beta knock-in, Mishra explained.

In her presentation, Mishra stressed the importance of hAβ-KI and its future promise in Alzheimer’s research.

“Ayati was one of the few students from California admitted into our highly selective program this year and chosen to present,” said Siam Rezwan, chair of the Global Health Leaders Conference. “We sincerely thank Tesoro High School and your community for nurturing future leaders in global health and medicine. Ayati wonderfully represented Tesoro High School and California in our program.”

Mishra, still excited weeks after giving her presentation, said she wishes to continue studying medicine after graduating from Tesoro. She’s eying a career in neurology, hopefully starting as a pre-med student in an Ivy League or University of California campus.

“When I’m older, I think I can do something really cool with it,” she said. “I just find it really interesting.”

When not keeping busy with ambitious coursework at Tesoro — with her love of STEM, she has taken science, math and computer science Advanced Placement courses — Mishra is an intern at a neurology lab and volunteer at Mission Viejo Hospital. She also finds time to play piano, a pursuit of hers since first grade.

“It’s been so fun,” she said of her internship and volunteer hours. “It’s stuff I really enjoy. It’s not something tedious, and I have a lot of fun, too.”

Participating in the Global Health Leaders Conference was a dream come true, connecting her with world-renowned people.

“But it was also really cool to hear from students who were almost my age,” Mishra added. “They were from almost every continent.”

The logistics of such widespread connections got tricky at times, coordinating time zones that could demand one’s attention at 5 or 6 in the morning. Mishra said Alzheimer’s disease interests her because she has known people and families severely affected by it.

“It doesn’t have a cure, but there are so many different types of treatments for this disease,” she said. “It’s a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of race, gender or class.”

Mishra said she was initially nervous to give her virtual presentation — it was for Johns Hopkins, after all — but the nerves melted away soon enough. She powered through it with professionalism.

Closer to home, Mishra is connecting with future doctors and other medical professionals at Tesoro. In her freshman year, she founded a new club just for them, called Medway.

“It’s not just for doctors and nurses,” she explained, “but for other students who are interested in any of the healthcare fields, like researchers and physician’s assistants.”

All her organizing for Medway certainly came in handy this summer at the conference.

“It definitely helped me really learn how to do a proper presentation and learn how to speak well,” Mishra said. “I could apply all to my experience for Johns Hopkins.”

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