After their grandmother suffered a stroke in 2015, twin brothers and then-Syosset High School students Sahil and Rahul Chaudhry wanted to learn more about the cause of this unexpected medical event.
“When you actually suffer from a stroke you realize there’s no pre-emptive measure to determine if a person is at risk or not for blood clot formation, which causes heart attacks and stroke,” said Sahil Chaudhry, who along with his brother picked up his diploma during Syosset’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday at Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead. “We decided we wanted to do something with platelets because we knew that’s what directly caused these specific diseases.”
Their grandmother, Sumitra Bajaj, recovered from her stroke, but the twins’ curiosity remained.
Encouraged by the Syosset faculty, particularly research facilitator Veronica Ade, the brothers turned their theory into practical research. In their junior year, they entered the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, a national competition for high school students.
During research at Stony Brook University, they determined that highly pressurized blood flow causes platelets to become overactive, which leads to excessive blood clotting and ultimately heart attack or stroke. Using a program called GNU Octave, they created an algorithm to determine platelet shape.
Their model was proven to accurately predict platelet shape, earning regional semifinalist status in the 2015 Siemens competition.
They plan to continue their research in a clinical setting to determine the link between platelet shape and risk of heart attack or stroke. Next year, the brothers, who are 18 years old, will enter an eight-year medical program together, attending Brooklyn College and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
Along with their lab work, the brothers were a team on the Syosset High School Forensic Speech and Debate Club.
A month before Wednesday’s graduation, they competed in the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.
Said Rahul, “Debate has taught us to publicly speak and speak to others. So that is something that has helped us with research.”