CLSA Wire

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) Names Winner of Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Competition

Utkarsh Tandon Advances to San Francisco to Compete Against Top Students From Across the Nation and Canada

South San Francisco (April 15, 2016) – California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) today named Cupertino High School Sophomore Utkarsh Tandon as the winner of the 2016 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field.  As the California BioGENEius finalist, Tandon will attend the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco, the industry’s trade conference, where he will engage with leading companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape in order to gain invaluable insights into an industry that is making significant contributions to the world. Sandhya Kalavacherla, from Amador Valley High school in Pleasanton, and Julia Cho, from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino took home second and third place, respectively.

While in San Francisco, Utkarsh Tandon will compete against students from the U.S., Canada and Germany in the International BioGENEius Challenge. The projects presented will represent a range of biotechnology topics such as healthcare, agriculture and the environment.

Left to Right: 3rd place: Julia Cho, Grade 12, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino; 2nd place: Sandhya Kalavacherla, Grade 11, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton; 1st place:  Utkarsh Tandon, Grade 10, Cupertino High School, Cupertino; Aarif Khakoo, vice president research and site head, Amgen South San Francisco.
Left to Right: 3rd place: Julia Cho, Grade 12, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino; 2nd place: Sandhya Kalavacherla, Grade 11, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton; 1st place: Utkarsh Tandon, Grade 10, Cupertino High School, Cupertino; Aarif Khakoo, vice president research and site head, Amgen South San Francisco.

“For younger generations showing increasing interest in the biotechnology field, the BioGENEius Challenge provides a unique opportunity for those students to engage with scientists and other influential life sciences professionals responsible for existing industry-shaping technologies and approaches,” said Lori Lindburg, executive director, California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI). “California Life Sciences Institute applauds all of this year’s participants for their efforts and will be rooting for Utkarsh Tandon at the 2016 BIO International Convention and wishing him continued success in developing his career in biotechnology.”

“Our mission is to engage and excite student innovators by creating an environment that allows them to showcase their talents and help accelerate their development as the next generation of scientists. The BioGENEius Challenges encourage students to apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues through biotechnology, allowing them to see the tremendous potential they have to change the world,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “We bring students, mentors and industry leaders together to promote excellence in scientific research from the best and brightest minds in the next generation of biotechnology innovators.”

“Amgen is proud to partner with the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) and support the Amgen BioGENEius Challenge,” said Aarif Khakoo, vice president research and site head, Amgen South San Francisco. “The caliber of students the challenge attracts is truly remarkable. Each year as I speak to the students about their research, it is amazing to realize they are high school students.  It’s important to continue to nurture the talents and efforts of these outstanding students who will likely help us solve the global challenges in human health, food and the environment. Congratulations to all of the Challenge participants on their work and for what will certainly be a bright future.”

Winners of the International BioGENEius Challenge will be announced during the Tuesday, June 7th keynote at the 2016 BIO International Convention.  The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize.

View a photo the students who placed 1-3rd. View photo of all student finalists, including honorable mentions.

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Follow the BioGENEius Challenge: Throughout the challenge, @BiotechInstitut will be tweeting interviews, photos, and engaging with the biotechnology community by using the hashtag #BioGENEius.

About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. With a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area, CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents more than 750 life sciences organizations. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more athttp://califesciencesinstitute.org.

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology.  Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems.  For more information, visit www.biotechinstitute.org.

Media Contact:
Will Zasadny
Associate Director, Communications for CLSA
wzasadny@califesciences.org
619-961-8848