BayBio Names Henry M. Gunn Junior and Monta Vista High School Junior Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Finalists

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – April 12, 2013 – BayBio  today named Henry M. Gunn High School junior Emily Wang and Monta Vista High School junior Natalie Ng as the winners of the 2013 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology.  Next up:  Wang and Ng will be granted insider access to the biotechnology industry through their attendance at the 2013 BIO International Convention in Chicago, the industry’s trade conference, where leading companies, scientists and innovators will offer Wang and Ng first-hand experience on what a dynamic career in the industry can encompass.

While in Chicago, Wang and Ng will compete against students from across the country in the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge.  If named a finalist, Wang and Ng will go on to compete against a select number of students from the U.S., Canada and Australia in the International BioGENEius Challenge.  Each stage of the competition will take place in Chicago during the2013 BIO International Convention.

“At a time when the U.S. is struggling to engage students in the sciences, the BioGENEius Challenge has found a way to encourage those students who are excited about biotechnology to reach for the next level,” said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., Vice President for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur.  “We are thrilled to participate in a program that cultivates young, innovative minds to address our global challenges in new ways.”

“Through the BioGENEius Challenge, students gain an appreciation for the fascinating aspects of scientific experimentation and the tremendous potential for biotechnology to continue to address some of the most pressing issues of our time,” added Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.  “It is our expectation that this program will draw bright young people into the endeavor of biotechnology and help accelerate the development of the next-generation of scientific leaders.”

The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education.  Generous Co-Lead Supporters of the Challenge include Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of leading global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the BayBio Institute with generous support from Amgen.

Irvington High School junior Kevin Chen placed third in the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge. Senior Aryo Sorayya (Monta Vista), senior Brooke Vittimberga (Campolindo High School), and junior Molly Vora (Monta Vista) received honorable mentions from the judges. In total, 30 students competed.

Emily Wang’s project was selected because she developed a new green fluoroscent protein. Clover 2S, which is now the brightest existing fluorescent protein, shows improved photostability, quantum yield, maturation, and confers increased dynamic range onto a calcium sensor.

Natalie Ng’s project was selected because her research focuses on advancing precision medicine. Ng identified prognostic signatures predictive of breast cancer metastasis. Her experiments correlated microRNA expression and in-vitro metastatic characteristics.

“Through their current and future research, Wang and Ng have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the world around us.  BayBio and the BayBio Institute will be cheering on Wang and Ng at the 2013 BIO International Convention this April,” said Lori Lindburg, the BayBio Institute’s executive director.

The first place winner in the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge received a $2,000 cash prize, the second place winner received $1,000, and the third place winner received $500. The first place winner in the International competition will receive a $7,500 cash prize, the second place winner will receive $5,000, the third place winner will receive $2,500 and the fourth place winner will receive $1,000.

In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, BioMarin and Sangamo BioSciences.

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About the BayBio Institute

The BayBio Institute (BBI) strives to ensure that the economic and intellectual power of the region’s life science industry and its employees remains strong. By maintaining our focus on programs related to entrepreneurship, science education and life science career development, BBI supports the foundations of life science innovation that have made Northern California the most prominent life science cluster in the world. As a non-profit 501(c)(3), our objectives are met through collaborations, partnerships, and the generosity of individuals and foundations. For more information, visit


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


About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company’s heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or


About Janssen
At Janssen Research & Development, LLC, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world.  For more information, please visit: