For Kinnelon resident Karl Vosatka, there’s just something about the brain.
“To learn the connection between the brain and the rest of the organs in the body, that’s amazing,” Vosatka said. “I’ve always been interested in life science but I’ve always really enjoyed learning about behavior and learning the why behind what makes someone do what they do.”
The 18-year-old Vosatka is one of only 300 students in the country to be named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, a very prestigious pre-college science competition. Of the 300 semifinalists, 40 will be chosen to go to Washington, D.C. for the final round of judging.
Dementia is one of the symptoms of AIDS but its onset often comes after the disease has ravaged a patient’s body. Vosatka’s research involves learning how the disease affects patients’ brains. He hopes to develop a treatment or drug that prevents AIDS patients from developing dimentia.
“I’m doing something as a teenager that could change the world,” Vosatak said. “What makes the research so compelling to me is my interest in psychology and neuroscience because I’ve been interested in studying the brain for years.”
Vosatka developed an interest in the brain and how it works at a young age.
“When I walk around to this day I think what other people are thinking and wonder what makes people have the little behavioral ticks that they have,” Vosatka said.
Vosatka excels in other academic subjects besides science. He is a National Merit scholar, a Advanced Placement scholar with honors, and president of the National Honor Society chapter at Kinnelon High School. He is also studio manager of the high school’s television station and sings in his church’s choir.
“To know that I am doing something in a lab on a plate that could potentially change the world,” Vosatak said, “that’s an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.”