Rajiv Movva to be Named a 2018 Davidson Fellow

San Jose, Calif. – The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has announced the 2018 Davidson Fellows. Among the honorees is 18-year-old Rajiv Movva of San Jose. Movva won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his project, SNPpet: Deep Learning the Human Epigenome Reveals Regulatory Sequence Patterns and Genomic Mechanisms of Disease. He is one of only 20 students across the country to receive this honor.

“After spending hundreds of high school hours thinking about my various research questions, it feels great to be named a Davidson Fellow,” said Movva. “What I’ve done certainly seems more important and valuable now, and I’m further convinced that science is the path for me.”

Movva built a computer model that can use a particular DNA sequence as input to predict gene expression level as output, which sheds light on the poorly understood “dark genome.”  In practice, Movva’s model could bring clinical meaning to large patient-specific DNA sequence datasets that are currently hard to decode. This advanced timeframe can allow patients to make lifestyle changes or be treated far in advance, when the disease has little potential to have severe consequence. Movva’s model can also give researchers a clearer picture of disease by flagging genes that are abnormally regulated, prioritizing better targets for drugs and other treatments that remain to be discovered.

Movva, who has lived in the Silicon Valley area his entire life and attended The Harker School, is looking forward to exploring the other side of the country during his upcoming college experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2018 Davidson Fellows not only for their incredible projects, but also for the journey they forged to reach this point,” said Bob Davidson, founder of the Davidson Institute. “Every year I am amazed by the depth of the Fellows’ accomplishments. Through encouragement and recognition, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development anticipates that gifted students like these will be among the pioneers who will solve the world’s most vexing problems.”

The 2018 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 28.

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have completed significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature and music. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided more than $7.5 million in scholarship funds to more than 300 students since its inception in 2001, and has been named one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships by U.S. News & World Report. It is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth.

About the Davidson Institute

Founded by Bob Davidson in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development recognizes, nurtures and supports profoundly intelligent young people, and provides opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference. The Institute offers support through a number of programs and services, including the Davidson Fellows Scholarship and the Davidson Academy of Nevada. For more information about the 2018 Davidson Fellows, please visit 


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