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On March 11, 2008 Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public awarded the top 10 college scholarship awards for the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) at a black-tie banquet in Washington, D.C.
Shivani Sud, 17, of Durham, submitted a bioinformatics and genomics project to the Intel Science Talent Search that focused on identifying stage II colon cancer patients at high risk for recurrence and the best therapeutic agents for treating their tumors. The standard method of characterizing tumors relies on visual information, including size, degree of metastasis and microscopic structure. Shivani's 50-gene model for predicting the recurrence of colon cancer instead uses gene expression profiles to link multiple genetic events that characterize various tumor types. She created her model using two public data sets containing 125 patient samples and coupled it with clinical data to plot statistically significant survival curves. She then used her model to identify drugs that may be effective in treating stage II colon cancer. The daughter of Ish and Anu Sud, Shivani is first in her class of 358 at Charles E. Jordan High School and represents the students at school board meetings. She is a Teen Court student attorney, a Durham Rescue Mission volunteer and performs classical and modern Indian dance. Shivani plans to attend Princeton or Harvard, earn an M.D./Ph.D. and have a career in research.
Graham William Wakefield Van Schaik, 17, of Columbia, completed a two-year study of the long-term effects of exposure to pyrethroids, commonly found in household and agricultural pesticides, for his Intel Science Talent Search project in environmental science. Graham had become interested while helping his grandmother in her tomato garden, and subsequently designed two novel experiments to investigate the possible effect of pyrethroids on breast cancer and neurodegeneration. His work included plant cultivation, liquid-phase extraction, gas chromatography, tissue culture, cell viability assays, ANOVA testing and linear regression analysis. His findings showed that realistic levels of pyrethroids promote significant cellular proliferation in human breast cells, a sign of cancer, and neurite retraction in rat PC12 neurons, a sign of neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer's. He is first in his class of 421 at Spring Valley High School, and his honors include a Best in Category Grand Award at the Intel ISEF 2007. He has also founded and raised funding for a summer science camp for more than 300 at-risk grade school students. Graham is the son of Douglas and Joan Van Schaik.
Brian Davis McCarthy, 18, of Hillsboro, focused his research on developing new types of solar cells for his Intel Science Talent Search project in chemistry. Brian synthesized extremely thin and fragile films and verified his results using scanning electron microscopy techniques. His films consisted of interfacially polymerized combinations of porphyrins and phthalocyanines - plant-like photosynthetic materials found in nature that are photoactive and photoconducting - both properties of functioning solar cells. Brian's novel polymer films responded electrically to light indicating that they could act as solar cells and may be a less expensive option to today's silicon-based solar cell technology, and help meet increasing demands for renewable energy. A Rensselaer Medal award winner, Brian hopes to attend MIT or Harvard and one day join a research team developing new sources of energy. He is first in his class of 293 at Liberty High School and belongs to the varsity track and field team. In his spare time, Brian works with the community emergency response team and enjoys strategy games, Legos and studying aviation history. He is the son of Brian and Karen McCarthy.
Katherine Rose Banks, 17, of Brooklyn, submitted a mathematics project to the Intel Science Talent Search on problems in combinatorial geometry. A lattice polygon in the plane is a polygon each of whose vertices has integer coordinates; such points are called lattice points. Katie gave a proof of a conjecture of S. Rabinowitz, that a convex lattice polygon with nine vertices cannot have exactly eight or nine interior lattice points. Katie attends Stuyvesant High School in New York and has perfect SAT scores. Diagnosed at a young age with a neurological condition, she began quizzing doctors about equipment used for her treatments, which led to an informal education of neuroscience. This developed into collaborations with her surgeon on algorithm coding for simulation software used in craniofacial surgery. As a member of the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics team, she created an on-the-fly program during a competition that earned her team the top programming award. Katie enjoys acting and technical theater, as well as rocketry, ham radio, photography and playing cricket. The daughter of Paul and Carrie Banks, Katie hopes to teach math following her studies at MIT or Cornell.
Eric Nelson Delgado, 18, of Bayonne, studied the use of novel efflux pump inhibitors (EPI) to improve the efficacy of antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacteria for his Intel Science Talent Search medicine and health project. One way bacteria disable antibiotics is to use an efflux pump mechanism to expel the antibiotics from their cells. Eric tested a compound known to disable a simple efflux pump in S. aureus on a more complex pump in E. coli, a nonpathogenic bacteria. The compound was not initially effective because it could not penetrate the E. coli membrane, but Eric found that a modified form of it, diosmetin, could enter the E. coli cell and effectively disable the more complex pump. Eric states that further research will be required to determine if diosmetin is also effective against virulent strains of bacteria. Eric is captain of the mock trial and debate teams and president of the science club at Bayonne High School and works as a veterinary assistant. His many awards include an Intel ISEF 2007 Best in Category Grand Award in microbiology. The son of Nelson Delgado and Virginia Davila, he hopes to study molecular biology at Princeton or Harvard and work with under-privileged teens interested in science.
David Alex Rosengarten, 18, of Great Neck, studied dark matter and the controversial galactic rotational curves for his Intel Science Talent Search physics project. Dark matter, which is theorized to make up 25 percent or more of the universe, emits little or no detectible radiation but exerts observed gravitational force on stars and galaxies. To avoid the complications of modeling matter in the physical fourth dimension, David's calculations were conducted in a fifth dimensional model, allowing him to mock-up galactic rotation models without describing visible matter. His results showed that Einstein's General Relativity Theory, in principle, could modify rotation curves without including dark matter. Fourth dimensional calculations, in contrast, support the existence of dark matter. David, who attends John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School, captains the chess team and also the math team, which advanced from 105th to 4th place nationally under his leadership. The son of William and Elissa Rosengarten, David is an accomplished cellist, a nationally ranked chess player and the recipient of many math and science awards. He hopes to study at Harvard or MIT.
Xiaomeng Zeng, 18, of Iowa City, studied the long-standing debate of whether public library funding from either government or private sources might adversely affect funding from the other group, for her Intel Science Talent Search project in behavioral and social sciences. Using Iowa public library statistics and U.S. census datasets, Jessica constructed an econometric model that included public funding, private donations, population size, and local economic and demographic factors. Although her data was restricted to Iowa, comprising mainly of small towns, she reached the surprising conclusion that funds from private and public sources are relational - as one increases, so does the other - an effect called "crowding in." Jessica attends West High School where she's active in the Federal Reserve challenge, academic decathlon and chemistry club. The daughter of Yu Zeng and Hongbo Xie, she enjoys tennis, yoga and playing the violin, and hopes to study pro-social behavior after attending Harvard or Yale. Jessica immigrated to the US at age nine from the People's Republic of China, and hopes her research will benefit the public libraries that helped her learn the English language.
Philip Mocz, 18, of Mililani, developed a novel statistical algorithm and used it to discover previously unidentified patterns in the distribution of nearby stars for his Intel Science Talent Search project in space science. He dissected the solar neighborhood into 300 thin slices to analyze the spatial arrangement of star types and found that groups of stars tend to contain star types with low to medium surface temperatures, or cool stars mixed with much warmer ones - a finding that challenges the standard assumptions about random stellar mixing in our galaxy. Philip believes that his unique analysis method may have uses beyond astronomy and could be applied to pattern analysis in ecology, urban planning, archeology and other disciplines. Philip is first in his class of 540 at Mililani High School. President of the math club, he also plays violin and is concertmaster of the school's string ensemble. Philip has earned numerous honors and awards in math and astronomy. Fluent in Hungarian, he is the son of Gabor and Eva Mocz. Philip plans to study astronomy, physics and math, become a professor of astronomy and pursue dedicated research in the field.
Alexis Marie Mychajliw, 16, of Port Washington, combined her interests in animal behavior and environmental science for the zoology project she submitted to the Intel Science Talent Search. As a participant in a statewide survey tracking Odonate family populations (dragon flies and damsel flies), she decided to collect additional data to discover the nature of population distribution and its application to conservation policy. Field research was conducted in two undisturbed wetland habitats with varying levels of vegetative cover, where catch-and-release means were used to assess Odonate behavior in relation to their habitat. Her findings indicate that - regardless of vegetative coverage - females are more likely to remain in adjoining meadows and males within wetlands, suggesting that both habitats are crucial for the survival of the entire Odonate population. At the Paul D. Schreiber High School, Alexis has been editor of the literary magazine for four years. A violinist and tennis player, she is also an imaginative cook, creating new dishes based on her grandmother's traditional Ukrainian recipes. The daughter of Peter and Belinda Mychajliw, she hopes to study at Cornell or Brown University.
Evan Neal Mirts, 18, of Jefferson City, observed changes in volume and surface area of spinach chloroplasts using a scanning ion conductance microscope (SICM) for his Intel Science Talent Search biochemistry project. Chloroplasts, key components in photosynthesis, have been observed in vitro to undergo reversible morphological changes - either volume shrinkage or swelling. When conventional analytical techniques are used to study chloroplasts, they are destroyed, thus preventing the ability to directly measure any reversible light-induced changes. But by using SICM, possible cellular reversibility can be non-destructively studied. Evan's results suggest that light-induced changes in the shape and surface area of chloroplasts result from supporting surface orientation rather than volume changes. His research promotes the future possibility of using SICMs as key tools for measuring submicron cellular structural changes. At Jefferson City High School, Evan plays violin in the school orchestra. He has been awarded for his achievement in Latin and practices Tae Kwon Do. The son of Gary and Linda Mirts, he hopes to attend Washington or Truman State Universities.
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