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Eric Sherman '13 Wins Award for Bone Marrow Donor Matching Technique

Eric Sherman '13 Wins Award for Bone Marrow
Donor Matching Technique

by Michael Lott

Eric Sherman

Eric Sherman '13

Eric Sherman '13 has been honored as a Davidson Fellows Laureate by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. To win the award, he submitted a project entitled, “Computer Analysis of the HLA Histocompatibility Complex: Identification of Bone Marrow Donor Matches,” which details a far faster and less expensive process for identifying  donor matches than current techniques. According to Sherman, current techniques can take 2-4 weeks and cost thousands of dollars, whereas his process can be completed for $600 and takes only 24 hours.

He developed the process by sequencing the genes that determine a person’s Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) type and creating a computer program to search for possible DNA matches among donors in an online database. 

Sherman completed this project while at Ephrata High School in Ephrata, Penn. The research was done at the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Penn., a non-profit organization that works with Old Order Amish and Mennonite populations. The clinic focuses on the inherited diseases seen in those populations.

He is continuing to refine the computer process as a student in Professor of Computer Science Lisa Meeden’s Data Structures and Algorithms course.

The Davidson Fellows Laureate award carries a $50,000 scholarship and is given to a student under 18 years of age who has completed a project of exceptional academic or artistic merit. Sherman has also published an article in the American Journal of Human Genetics about the mapping project of a gene that causes a different inherited biochemical phenotype in the Old Order Amish.