After months of researching neuroengineering in a lab at Case Western Reserve University, Suraj Srinivasan has plans to start a human augmentation company that will allow people to keep pace with rapidly advancing technology — he just has to graduate from high school first.

Then there’s college, which the Strongsville High School senior had three main choices for: Stanford University, Harvard University or MIT. Srinivasan was accepted to all three, but he settled on MIT because “you can really develop solid fundamentals in computer science and engineering there, and the urban and intellectual atmosphere was something I enjoyed a lot.”

Though he’s only 18, Srinivasan’s career focus is needle sharp and his character well-rounded. He ranks No. 1 out of 514 students in his class academically, but he still finds time to seek out independent research opportunities, compete in international science competitions and drive to Michigan twice a month to take Indian classical drum lessons.

“Simply put, in my 19 years of teaching, he is the most outstanding and impressive all-around student I have ever taught,” wrote Michael Scott, the school’s math department chair, in a two-page recommendation letter for Srinivasan. “I find Suraj to be such a remarkable student that I talk about his passion and achievements to my colleagues, friends and family.”

The summer after his sophomore year, Srinivasan took the initiative to branch out from his school studies and began sending emails to dozens of local professors to see if he could work in their lab.

The Capadona Lab at Case Western Reserve University was one of several to respond, and Srinivasan spent the next two summers there researching microelectrodes in the brain.

Srinivasan’s grandfather, who struggled with ALS for many years, inspired the high-schooler’s interest in neurology. But his interest in research is driven by sheer curiosity.

“School reinforces the idea of binary outcomes to whatever we do, but in research, there really is no clear path. I think that’s really interesting,” Srinivasan said.

Srinivasan took his research to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles last year and won a first-place prize in the biomedical engineering category.

“That’s like the Nobel prize of high school science … It’s a huge deal,” said Andrew Shoffstall, Srinivasan’s mentor with whom he researched in the lab. “It’s a cool project to begin with, but [Srinivasan] took ownership in it and really ran with it.”

He added it to the list of other first-place awards for his research that he earned in competitions from the regional to national level.

Of all his accomplishments, Srinivasan doesn’t know which he considers his greatest — perhaps because he’s too busy looking toward the future.

At some point, computing machinery will overtake human intelligence, Srinivasan said. So he hopes to someday open a company that will work on human augmentation — especially of the brain — to help human intelligence keep up with technology.

“It’s scary to an extent, but at the same time I think we shouldn’t hold back,” Srinivasan said. “I think we should innovate in moderation so we can move forward into the next stage but still keep grounded as to what we’ve created.”

Outside of academics, Srinivasan is also on his school’s varsity tennis team and has played the Mridangam, an Indian classical drum, for 10 years. Srinivasan has also been on the Stronsgville Youth Commission for three years, where he and a group of other kids decide on a national issue they want to try to alleviate.

This year, Srinivasan’s group raised enough money to fund the creation of three schools in rural India.

Despite his intelligence and passion, it’s those social aspects that make Srinivasan the most impressive to some — the fact that his motives are just as societal as they are scientific.

“That’s what’s so striking about him,” Shoffstall said. “He’s not like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, he’s not some super science nerd. He’s really well-rounded.”

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.