At 21, Sho Yano Is Set to Become Youngest M.D.

Enjoli Francis
ABC News Blogs

Sho Yano is living his dream - and calling to mind for many the popular '90s show "Doogie Howser M.D."

This week, the 21-year-old will become the youngest student to attain an M.D. from the University of Chicago, but in 2000, he was a 9-year-old college freshman eschewing the word "genius."

"I'm not a genius. I'm gifted," he told ABC News. "I got a gift from God and I may be accountable to God for using it wisely. Besides, I have to work for it."

When he was 12 - having already graduated in three years from Loyola University - Yano entered the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, participating in a program where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees.

According to the Chicago Tribune, he completed his first year of medical school, got his Ph.D. in molecular genetics and cell biology and then pursued the rest of medical school so that he'd be at least 18 when it came time to work with patients.

Yano was reportedly reading by the age of 2, writing by the age of 3 and composing music by 5. At the age of 8, he scored a 1,500 out of 1,600 on the SAT.

When he was 9, Yano told ABC News that he didn't feel strange about attending school with others nearly 10 years his senior. And his mother, Kyung Yano, said she was not worried about him not having a typical childhood.

"He goes to like Sunday school and after Sunday school, they have gatherings like once in a while," she said. "They visit each other's house and play with him. … For me, Sho is just a regular child."

Yano is now an accomplished pianist with a black belt in tae kwon do but he's not the only prodigy in the family.

His only sister, Sayuri Yano, 15, is working on her second bachelor's degree in violin performance at Johns Hopkins University.

Next up for Sho Yano? A five-year residency in pediatric neurology.