Grandmother's battle inspires Henrico teen to do life-saving research

Laasya Konidala.JPG
Posted at 5:59 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 08:02:57-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When Mills Godwin 11th grader Laasya Konidala isn't studying, you'll usually find her in the kitchen, baking. Or doing a puzzle with her mom. For Laasya, family is everything.

But recently, her family received devastating news.

"This past year my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer," Konidala said.

But she didn't sit back and worry, she went to work.

"As someone who has a lot of natural curiosity and as a researcher, one of the first things I did was to dive into reading articles and papers as much as I can," she said.

In her research, Konidala said she found inconsistencies with the pipeline of breast cancer treatment process, especially when it came to classifying the sub-types of the disease.

"So many people are diagnosed with breast cancer. It's the second leading cause of death for women globally. I thought someone should do something about it," she said.

Teaching herself to code, she entered the MEDARVA Science Fair, presenting research that bridges the gap between predicting breast cancer sub-types with robust classification models.

And she won!

It's research that could help in the detection and treatment of breast cancer.

As you can imagine, her grandmother is very proud.

"She knew I was into science and research, but she never expected me to do something, like, directly related to her. She was honestly at a loss for words," she said.

Her mom, Rekha Rasineni is not. She'll tell you what a hard worker Laasya can be.

"Some days we tell her just relax, you know?" Rekha Rasineni said. “You don't need to be productive and working all day. Take it easy. But she doesn't like that."

No, she likes to study and do puzzles and bake and maybe even save lives with her research.

Slowing down isn't an option when you're Building Better Minds.

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