(KTXL) — A Sacramento 19-year-old studying biomedical engineering at UC Davis has become one of the world’s youngest Ph.D. holders.

Dr. Tanishq Mathew Abraham successfully defended his dissertation in early May, and he has reportedly already made “significant contributions” in his field of study. 
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Abraham was born and raised in Sacramento in an Indian American immigrant family.

“His father, Bijou Abraham, a software engineer and mother Dr. Taji Abraham, a veterinary researcher by profession quickly recognized their child’s exceptional abilities and provided him with the resources and support needed to nurture his talents,” a press release says.

Dr. Tanishq Abraham credits his parents and sister with supporting him as he completed his Ph.D. His sister graduated from UC Davis at 16 and is now 17 in her second year in a Master of Music degree at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music.

“Without their love and support, I wouldn’t be here today,” Tanishq Abraham told FOX40 News in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Of course, the general environment at UC Davis is great.”

He enrolled in college when he was 7 years old and graduated high school by the time he was 10. Just four years later, he graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and continued his field of study into a Ph.D. program, focusing on the development of artificial intelligence systems for diagnostic pathology. 

“I think we’re still early to the various opportunities that will be possible because of AI in the medical field,” Tanishq Abraham said. “I’m just really excited to continue to work in medical AI and explore all these unique possibilities this new technology is enabling.”

He said he was inspired by his grandmother and late grandfather, Dr. Zachariah Mathew, a veterinary researcher. His grandmother, 90-year-old Dr. Thankam Mathew, was the first Indian woman veterinarian to receive a Ph.D. in the mid-1960s. 

She was present at his dissertation defense at UC Davis.

Tanishq Abraham currently heads a research center he founded, which is aimed at advancing medical AI technology. He works alongside and leads a team from Stanford University, Princeton University and members from national and international research organizations.

“I’ve put in a lot of hard work in reaching this point,” Tanishq Abraham said. “I know some people may think this sort of thing comes easy to me, but that’s not necessarily the case. There’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout this entire journey.”