Local Students Win National Science Competition

Jun 19, 2012

BOSTON, Mass. – June 19, 2012 – Ten of the brightest young minds in biotech have won the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge. The winners will now advance to compete with students from Canada and Australia in the International BioGENEius Challenge, which will take place at the 2012 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention here in Boston.

Winners of the International BioGENEius Challenge will be announced tomorrow at the keynote luncheon at the BIO International Convention.

The U.S. National and International BioGENEius Challenges are competitions for high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects.

U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge winners are: Julia Abelsky, Sandy Springs, Ga. for her research on Analysis of Cylindrically Confined Diblock Copolymers and Gold Nanocomposites for Metamaterials;

Aprotim Bhowmik, Lilburn, Ga. for his research on Arterial Hemodynamics in Atherosclerosis Patients – A Mathematical Model;

Nikhil Buduma, San Jose, Ca. for his research on Pertussis Toxin-Mediated Inhibition of Lymphocyte Trafficking into Lung Tissue: Considerations for an Improved Whooping Cough Vaccine;

Nidhi Gandhi, Sherwood, Ark. for her research on Phase II: Improving the Effectiveness of Anticancer Drugs with Cell Death Modulators;

Nathan Kondamuri, Dyer, Ind. for his research on A Novel Porphyrin Based Solar Cell Combining Coordinated Metal Ion Substitution and Self-Assembly to Broaden the Absorption Spectrum to Efficiently Create Sustainable Electrical Energy;

Natalie Ng, Cupertino, Ca. for her research on Interrogation of Cancer: Development of a Novel Biomarker Discovery Tool to Identify Clinical Signatures from Statistically Deconvoluted Expressions;

Kevin Nguyen, Plano, Texas for his research on The Development of Novel Sutures that Store and Deliver Nitric Oxide for Wound Healing;

Aishwarya Raja, Ramsey, N.J. for her research on Spicing Up the Caspase Pathways: Novel Targeted Curcumin-Loaded Nanoparticles for Alzheimer’s Treatment; Morgan Sinko, San Antonio, Texas for his research on Pop Goes the Diesel: A Linoleic Acid/R. rhodochrous Mixture as a Bioremediation Agent of Diesel Contaminants in Saltwater and Freshwater Environments;

Megan Smith, Lenexa, Ky. for her research on The Effect of Coffee Extract & Caffeine on the Locomotory Rate and Basal Slowing Response of a LRRK2 Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans (G2019S Mutation) Model of Parkinson’s disease.

“The U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge is like the Olympic trials for life science, promoting excellence, curiosity and a biotech-driven career among its participants and these ten students get a chance to compete for gold in the International BioGENEius Challenge,” said Tom Wiggans, chairman of the Biotechnology Institute. “We encourage our students to understand and make the connection between their research for the vast potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems.”

Students were evaluated on the quality of their research and display, their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge, and the potential commercial applications of their research.

“Each year, the BioGENEius Challenge showcases the biotech industry’s next generation of leaders and I continued to be amazed at the steep level of competition. These students are the best of the best and all gold medal scientists in my book,” said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., Vice President for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur.

“As exemplified by the upcoming Olympics, competition can inspire the best. Giving one’s best in biotechnology means helping create a better world for us all,” said Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “We are proud to support, encourage, and recognize the outstanding efforts of these students in the BioGENEius Challenge.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education, and sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi; and Janssen. In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, BIO, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation and Sangamo BioSciences.