From September 22 to September 23, 2018, in the DoraHacks Global Hackathon Series held at the 11th station of Boston, a 16th years old high school student Kevin Liu led his team Scintillating to won a championship at this station. Early last year, they founded a company, Kunal Sharda is the CEO, Kevin is the CTO, and the team members also include Aneesh Edara, Dylan Kim, Tiger Tian, and Aviral Mishra.

Based on the first product of the team — the clinical test management system Dephus, they won this Hackathon. In the contest, they build a new user interface for Dephus and utilized the decentralization and strong confidentiality characteristics of the blockchain, so that the patients participating in the clinical medical test can track the use of data by researchers.

Kevin Liu

It is hard to imagine that when their peers in China were busy studying, in America, Kevin and his partners were actively participating in Hackathon in their spare time, and they used their technique and knowledge to solve various problems faced in real life, and started up their own business. During the interview, when we talked about their experience of participating in Hackathon, they said that: “Hackathon can help us to utilize our programming skills to solve problems, which made us realize that this activity is very interesting!”

First of all, can you introduce yourself?

Kevin: I am a freshman in high school, and before, I liked participating in various Hackathon activities with my friends (such as MAHacks, MIT Blueprint, MetroHacks). In Hackathon, we developed some APPs related to virtual assistance, bots, and latest decentralization. At the beginning of 2017, I learned Ethereum (ETH) for the first time, and introduce it my friends. Then, we tried to develop APPs such as Litcoin (peer evaluation system on blockchain) and Quecoin (Stack Overflow-esque Q & A system).

Later, we introduced Delphus (previously called “reBlock”), which was our first popular APP. This is a decentralized research management system, and with our system, the researchers can safely build and submit data during the process of scientific research. In DoraHacks Hackathon, we completed the core part of Delphus, for example, the patient can submit health data to research, and this project attracted broad attention.

When did you participate in Hackathon for the first time? How did you get to and learn programming?

K: One of the early Hackathons we participated was MIT Blueprint 2017 held by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) about two years ago. Our team members have significantly different experiences — some members started to learn programming very young (for example, I started to use one of my mother’s textbooks to learn C# Language when I was 13); some only started to learn to programme very recently and became successful.

How did you come up this project related to medical research? What problems do you think current medical research data system has?

K: Actually, this idea came from our real life: the sister of our CEO was working in some big laboratories, and she encountered some difficulties. We learned that the researchers are facing the main problems of accountability and data invariance, which is also a popular global subject because data privacy is attracting more and more attention. Even though the blockchain technology is not all-powerful, it is very suitable for protection of data origin, and it can also be used to build interactive audit log, which has become the key to solve any research credibility problem. Therefore, after realizing that such an important problem can be solved with a simple approach, we developed Delphus.

What advantages does Delphus have? Can you briefly introduce this system to us?

K: Delphus can ensure the verifiability of clinical data, which makes it easy to track data. At present, the research website generally lacks a secure and reliable database. In order to respond to this problem, Delphus is executed and operated by applying the blockchain technology, which can ensure each step is invariable and recorded, from the start of research, to upload of data point, research conclusion and expenditure. Each uploaded data point has timestamp, and its data will be hashed, which can create transparent audit tracking log. In this way, if the effectiveness and accuracy of certain research conclusion are questioned in the future, the user can easily confirm that the data used to obtain the final conclusion has not been altered. Furthermore, in the database, the hypothesis of each research and the method used for statistical analysis are pre-locked to prevent endpoint switch or data dredging — main causes of reproducibility problem and a crisis in modern science. Based on these characteristics, it can not only enable the researchers to use data at ease, but also make the patients accurately learn the time and location of related data being accessed.

During the process to implement the project, what was the biggest difficulty that you encountered?

K: In essence, a clinical test is a relatively stagnant industry difficulty to change: for example, according to a recent SCRS research, in 86% of research projects, sensitive data was still on recorded on paper. Therefore, even though our product has many advantages, it still faces the main challenge to develop the market. During the initial period at present, we are in touch with various colleges, and we are also contacting hospitals and other medical institutions. All these organizations have provided us with great feedback so far.

After the project is launched, what is your next plan?

K: At present, we are at the seed round and expect to realize it by the end of the first quarter. Furthermore, we are also presenting our product to the researches via e-mail and direct meeting and conducting marketing. For example, we will attend the Harvard Startup Career Fair 2019 held by HBS (Harvard Business School) Healthcare Conference soon (if you are interested in helping us, please contact us at any time: ).

In the Dorahacks Hackathon, was there any memorable event?

K: In this Hackathon, the most memorable part for us was the sharing meeting in the end, through which, we saw various projects and met many new friends. In Hackathon, we were busy working most of the time. Being able to see other Hackers and benefited from their work, it was a very inspiring experience to us.

How do you wish DoraHacks to connect more hackers?

Boston Hack

K: It was an unforgettable experience for us to participate in the Hackathon organized by DoraHacks, and I also wish the spirit of DoraHacks can be continued. In my opinion, through online Telegram, Slack Chat and maybe some regular meetings, we can have the opportunity to discuss our project, so that everyone can be better connected.

Hi, friends! If you want to share your story like them, or if you have any interesting experiences in participating in Dora’s activities, or even if you have any good ideas, we welcome you to contribute to Dora!

Contact Us:

A leading global hacker organization.