Two Canadian students made it to the final stage of the International BioGENEius Challenge at the annual BIO Conference in Philadelphia. One of them walked away with a top prize and the other proved he belongs with some of the brightest young science minds from Canada, the U.S., and Germany. The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge brings exceptional high school students together with University mentors to pursue applied research projects.
Ontario's Aditya Mohan and Austin Wang from B.C had to win their regional competitions first, and then last month emerged as the top 2 two National winners and earned the trip to BIO.
Austin Wang has now won the Global Environment Challenge here at the International finals this week for his research project exploring cell bacteria as an alternative source of energy. The project 'Identifying Genes with Roles in Power Output of Exoelectrogenic Bacteria in Microbial Fuel Cells' was aimed at identifying genes that help bacteria improve their ability to generate electricity in Microbial Fuel Cells.
Aditya Mohan may not be going home with the trophy but he was in pretty good company with his research project focusing on a novel cancer treatment that manipulates the common cold virus to target and selectively kill cancer cells. He sees this approach as a treatment that wouldn't effect healthy cells and would have fewer side effects. Only a handful of students made it to this final challenge and Aditya was one of them thanks to his research and ideas.
These 2 students stand out in the Canadian education landscape because even though 74% of Canadian kids know how important a science and technology education is for their future career prospects, only 22% want to carry on with science in their post-secondary education. (Let's Talk Science - Spotlight on Science Learning
Austin and Aditya joined me at the BIORadio location in the BIOBuzz area and we talked about the competition
and what they had to sacrifice the join the prestigious rank of BioGENEius finalists in the pursuit of science.