Teenager and doctor research strokes at Mt. Sinai

Maximilian Bazil is not your average teenager. At 15, he decided he wanted to find a way to prevent strokes.

"I didn't really understand why it happened," Bazil, now 18, said. "And learning about why it happened became a huge priority for me."

Naturally, being that young and that inexperienced, Max needed a doctor to conduct his research with. Determined, Max must have sent more than 500 emails, he said.

"I talked to everyone from pharmacologists to neurologists, neurosurgeons—pretty much everything in the book—anyone who remotely did anything similar to arteries, veins, brain, I talked to them," Bazil said.

Most emails didn't even get a response. Of the ones that did respond, the answer was no. Except for one.

Dr. Christopher Kelner, of Mount Sinai, admitted that when he first saw Max's email, he thought it was a bit naïve. But he decided to give the kid a chance. Dr. Kelner and Bazil been researching vehemently together for the past three years.

Through the years the pair has studied strokes extensively. They even came up with a project idea to develop stem cells to try and deliver a certain medication to the area showing a problem in the vasospasm.

In 2016, they were awarded $20,000 in grant money by the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery. The grant is typically won by senior residents or early career attending researchers. Bazil was 16 at the time.

"I was astounded that someone was willing to look at my research so positively and see so much potential in it the way Chris did," Bazil said.

Max is now a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill. He works for Dr. Kelner remotely and comes to the hospital every time he is home on break.