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TEDxDirigo: RISE State Theatre, Portland, Maine

Building a Kidney with Passion, Perseverance, and Stem Cells

  • 2015
  • Science / Medicine

Inspired by his mother’s struggle with kidney disease, then-15-year-old scientist Demetri Maxim created a lab in his kitchen where he began the experiments that would lead to inventing a patent-pending device to detect when a patient is rejecting a transplanted kidney. The following year, having persisted to gain the support of mentors and lab access, Demetri invented a new method to grow human kidney tissue from skin cells to eliminate the need for kidney transplants altogether.

Demetri received the top prize for his work at the Maine State Science Fair in 2014 and 2015 and also won first place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college science competition. He has presented his work at several scientific conferences and continues his kidney disease research at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Demetri is currently a high school senior at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, where he is a competitive alpine skier and enjoys playing soccer, cycling, and mountain biking in his free time.