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Former child genius graduates from medical school at age 21

June 5, 2012 |  8:18 am

Sho Yano, left, and Dr. Darrel J. Waggoner, an associate professor of human genetics and pediatrics, look over a newborn patient at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago.

A former child genius and Los Angeles resident who entered medical school at the age of 12 is graduating this week as the youngest student to receive a medical degree from the University of Chicago.

Born in Portland, Ore., Sho Yano, 21, has an IQ above 200 and spent most of his early years in California — attending the Mirman School for Gifted Children in Los Angeles for a few years and getting home-schooled by his mother.

Yano, who has already completed his Ph.D. in molecular genetics and cell biology, was composing music by age 4, and scored 1,500 out of 1,600 possible points on the SAT by age 8. At 9, he attended Chicago’s Loyola University, where he graduated in three years, summa cum laude, but still played with his pet rabbit and delighted in reading children’s books, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Yano was admitted to the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine after he met with double the usual number of staff, the Tribune said. Several other medical schools had rejected his application, citing lack of maturity. 

Although he was the subject of gossip and teasing in college, classmates at Pritzker have accepted him as part of their class. Peers and faculty told the Tribune that Yano is a "sweet" and "humble” student who loves Bach and quoting Greek literature.

"Despite his age, Sho's the oldest soul in our class," one classmate told the Tribune.

He has a black belt in tae kwon do and is a noted pianist. But in the end, he said in 2003, he chose medicine because he wants to help people. He will spend his next five years doing a residency in pediatric neurology.

"I'd love to make a great contribution,” he told the Tribune. “We'll just have to see where life takes me, but really, I haven't done anything yet."

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-- Rosanna Xia

Photo: Sho Yano, left, and Dr. Darrel J. Waggoner, an associate professor of human genetics and pediatrics, look over a newborn patient at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago. Credit: Chris Walker/ Chicago Tribune

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