His journey began at age fifteen when, after losing a close family friend to pancreatic cancer, he invented an inexpensive early detection method for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer that costs 3 cents and takes 5 minutes to run. Now completing his MS in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, Andraka conducts research on nanorobots, inexpensive biosensors, disease diagnostics, and global health interventions while serving as faculty at the Stanford Anesthesiology Summer Institute. Outside of research, Jack has worked on combining anthropology, engineering, and big data to address pressing global health challenges, particularly in the monitoring of environmental contaminants and disease outbreaks. His latest work involves utilizing inexpensive paper biosensors to crowdsource environmental monitoring in Tanzania and track COVID-19 and other epidemics through wastewater.
Andraka’s groundbreaking results have earned him international recognition, most notably the 2018 Truman Scholar Award, the 2014 Jefferson Award, the nation’s most prestigious public service award, the Intel Science Fair Winner for 2012, the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, the Out 100, White House Champion of Change in Open Science, Time Magazines 30 under 30, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, and Advocate Magazine’s 40 under 40 award.
In addition, Andraka was First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the 2013 State of the Union Address. He has been featured in several documentaries including Morgan Spurlock’s Sundance Film Festival entry, “You Don’t Know Jack,” Linda Peters’ award winning film, “Just Jack,” and the online version of Ken Burns’ “The Emperor of All Maladies”, as well as 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, BBC, Fox, Rede Record de Televisão, and radio, newspaper, and magazine articles around the world.
Andraka speaks at a wide variety of locations including universities, schools, technology organizations and corporations, hospitals and the education sector in over 40 countries. Notable venues include a mainstage TED talk, 19 TEDx talks, a panelist at the annual Clinton Global Initiative, and a X-Prize Foundation Visioneer. His audiences range from youth—children and teens- to adults interested in using their creativity and curiosity to change the world.
Andraka also runs programs for mentoring disadvantaged LGBT youth in STEM fields. He is a member of both the Junior and U-23 national kayaking teams and placed in the top 20 at the U- 23 Wildwater Kayaking World Championships.
Big Data & Education
In this talk, Jack discusses the need for a reworking of our K-12 curriculum to prepare students for the data age, where every field from social justice to electrical engineering has been revolutionized by big data. He breaks down the story, history, and basic science of big data and discusses how to integrate the tools and strategy of data science into curriculums nationwide. By demystifying what data science is and how to use it, Jack sets out a bold vision where every student is data literate and is empowered to take charge of our increasingly data-drive world.
A New Approach to Health
Jack discusses a new paradigm of health, one where patients and healthcare providers collaborate to create a health experience tailored to the patient’s needs. He brings together the latest, cutting-edge research with his own experience and work to detail how to pioneer this new patient-doctor relationship through a diverse collection of stories and lessons learned from Ebola, the U.S. healthcare system, and global health interventions. Jack also discusses how new technologies such as 3D printing, real-time genetic sequencing, and molecular diagnostics will factor into this holistic version of health and how to use these technologies to personalize a patient’s health experience.
Putting the Social in Social Good
An electrical engineer and anthropologist, Jack discusses the need for the social sciences in STEM fields and how these unlikely collaborations can yield results that change the world. From obtaining a better understanding of the consumer to predicting and preventing misuse of technology, Jack discusses how the qualitative insights of the social sciences can be married with cutting-edge science and engineering to create breakthrough in fields from biomedicine to big data.
Innovation & Exploration
In this talk, Jack tells his own unlikely story of how he – a high school student who didn’t know what a pancreas was- created a new way to detect early-stage pancreatic cancer for 3 cents in 5 minutes. He then discusses his current work as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer working on issues ranging from crowdsourcing environmental monitoring in Tanzania to investigating the causes of the Ebola epidemic. Jack then reveals how anyone can become an explorer and learn how to change the world around through passion and perseverance.
The Power of the Crowd
A pioneer in inexpensive yet powerful sensors for crowdsourcing environmental monitoring and epidemic surveillance, Jack discusses strategies to educate and engage the public in solving our world’s most pressing challenges. Within this talk, Jack leverages his experience as a National Geographic Explorer to show how to design crowdsourcing projects, explain science topics to the public, recruit participants, create engaging public interfaces, and turn data from crowdsourced projects into real-world changes. Jack then speaks about how his own story of using crowdsourced sensors in Tanzania and Sierra Leone led him and his collaborators to taking on multinational mining conglomerates and change the course of environmental regulation in Tanzania.
The Power of the Humanities in Tech
An electrical engineer and anthropologist, Jack discusses the need for the humanities in STEM fields and how these unlikely collaborations can yield results that change the world. From obtaining a better understanding of the consumer to predicting and preventing misuse of technology, Jack discusses how the qualitative insights of the humanities can be married with cutting-edge science and engineering to create breakthrough in fields from biomedicine to big data.