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San Diego, California
Western Region Silver Medal Winner
On the Solution of the Dirichlet Problem with Rational Boundary Data
Michael Viscardi’s math project focused on finding the solution to the Dirichlet problem, originally formulated by the 19th century mathematician Lejeune Dirichlet. He especially liked the problem because it uses complex analysis, one of his favorite subjects. Mr. Viscardi studied the Dirichlet problem with rational data on the boundary of any 2-dimensional domain. In his research, Mr. Viscardi was able to obtain and prove several new results. Potential applications of his work include modeling magnetic fields which generate solar prominences, heat conduction through plates, and 2-dimensional electrostatic fields. Mr. Viscardi’s mentor for the project is Prof. Peter Ebenfelt, Department of Mathematics, University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Viscardi, a senior, has participated in the USA Mathematical Olympiad for the past three years and was the National MATHCOUNTS Champion Team Member in 2003. He has played the piano for ten years and the violin for six, and is concertmaster of the San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Youth Symphony Philharmonia, as well as first violinist of the San Diego Youth Symphony String Quartet. He has won numerous awards for his musical performances, including first place in the Senior Piano Division of the 2005 H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition. He also composes music. Mr. Viscardi plans to study mathematics and music in college. His dream job is to be a math professor and concert pianist/violinist/composer.
Choate Rosemary Hall
New England Region Silver Medal Winner
Macrocyclization Using Ring-Closing Olefin Metathesis: Synthesis of a 13-Member Dithiolactone
Kiran Pendri’s project incorporates recent Nobel Prize-winning chemistry research and contributes to the ongoing understanding of the art of synthesizing organic molecules. This study might contribute to future pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing developments. Essentially creating a new “Lego” shape, or building block, for creating new molecules, macrocyclization using a Ring-closing Olefin Metathesis allows for the creation of a useful mid-sized molecular ring that can serve as a precursor for the synthesis of new chemical species. His mentors were Professor Erik Sorensen and Dr. Brian Goess, Princeton University.
Fluent in Telugu, Mr. Pendri, a senior, is a member of the varsity math team and the senior judicial committee. He is the first boat coxswain for the Choate boys’ crew team and president of the Choate Indian Association. Previously, Mr. Pendri received honors at the 2003 General Electric Connecticut High School Computer Science Contest and was selected for the Connecticut Math Team. He enjoys reading and investing using analytical tools. He plans to study chemistry in college.
John F. Kennedy High School
Bellmore, New York
Middle States Region Silver Medal Winner
The Effects of Age on Brown Dwarf Spectral Features in the Near-Infrared
Adam Solomon analyzed the near-infrared light emitted by 53 different brown dwarfs. Dwarfs are the coldest and dimmest star-like objects known in the universe. They bridge the gap between stars and planets—they are not massive enough to burn hydrogen into helium, the hallmark feature of stars, yet they are too massive to be considered planets. In his study, Mr. Solomon found strong evidence that unusually red colors in these objects are best attributed to youth. The connection that Mr. Solomon found between the age of the dwarf and its redness provides a new way to infer a dwarf’s age and mass, which are of great importance in studying these objects. Mr. Solomon worked on his research at the American Museum of Natural History. His mentor was Dr. Kelle Cruz, NSF Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Astrophysics at the Museum.
Mr. Solomon, a senior, is a veteran of several science competitions and received highest honors at the Long Island Science Congress and STANYS New York State Science Congress, as well as the Western Long Island Regional Science Olympiad and New York State Science Olympiad. Mr. Solomon plays the guitar, writes for his school newspaper and competes in track. He plans to major in astrophysics.
Texas Academy of Mathematics and
Southwest Region Silver Medal Winner
Molecular Basis of Anoxia Stress Survival
Desh Mohan’s research may contribute to the understanding and potential clinical management of anoxic diseases such as strokes. By studying the survival rate of male and hermaphrodite C. elegans nematodes in oxygen-deprived conditions, he was able to identify the hsp 12.6 gene as a factor in male anoxia survival. His mentor was Dr. Pamela A. Padilla of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of North Texas.
Fluent in Tamil, Mr. Mohan, a senior, enjoys playing basketball and tennis and performs the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument, at cultural festivals and celebrations. He credits his father with nurturing his curiosity in math and science, and hopes to become a medical geneticist. Mr. Mohan is an active member of his high school, participating in the Medical Society, Sports Club, HOPE – Community Service Organization, and the BalVikas Religious Youth Club.
Parkway South High School
Midwest Region Silver Medal Winner
Quantitative and Highly Sensitive Luciferase-based Assay for Bacterial Toxins that Inhibit Protein Synthesis
Bacterial toxins that inhibit protein synthesis, such as diphtheria, are especially important because of their involvement in human disease. In his research Mr. Zhao aimed to develop a new assay to measure the effect on protein synthesis by certain toxins. The assay is quantitative and could allow researchers to perform large-scale screenings for compounds that will inhibit the activity of certain toxins. Those compounds could eventually be developed as treatments for toxins. Mr. Zhao was mentored by Dr. David Haslam, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Microbiology at the Washington University School of Medicine.
Mr. Zhao, a senior, is a two-time third place winner (Honors Division) of the Greater St. Louis Science Fair and a member of the National Honor Society. He plays the violin and is a member of his high school’s Symphonic Orchestra. Fluent in Chinese, Mr. Zhao plans to study molecular biology or biomedical engineering in college.
Martin Luther King Magnet High School
Southern Region Silver Medal Winner
The Effect of Foxm1b Inactivation on the Growth of Pancreatic Beta Cells
Xue Feng’s project provides evidence that the Foxm1b gene plays an important role in cell development in the pancreas, specifically in the growth of cells that produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar level. Her research may advance the understanding of Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the failure of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Ms. Feng’s mentors were Dr. John Lee and Dr. Hongjie Zhang and Dr. Maureen Gannon of Vanderbilt University.
Ms. Feng, a senior, was born in China, where she lived until the age of seven. She speaks fluent Chinese and Japanese. Ms. Feng received an honorable mention in Biochemistry from the Middle Tennessee Science and Engineering Fair and her research was published in the Handbook and Proceedings of the Tennessee Junior Academy of Science. She is also an accomplished pianist, having won several scholarships from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. She plans to major in bioengineering.
Chaparral High School
Phoenix Country Day School
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Southwest Region Silver Medal Winners
SNiPer: Improved SNP Genotype Calling for Affymetrix 10K GeneChip Microarray Data
Anne Lee and Albert Shieh have developed a computational tool called SNiPer that may potentially increase the accuracy and genotyping capabilities of the most widely used microarray-based genotyping platform, the Affymetrix array-based GeneChipÒ Mapping 10K Array. This technology holds the promise of allowing researchers to find the genetic basis for a number of genetically inherited diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autism and bipolar disorder. The students met and came up with the idea for their project while interning at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Their mentors were Dietrich Stephan (Senior Investigator), David Craig (Associate Investigator), and Matt Huentelman (Postdoctoral Fellow), all of the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
Ms. Lee, a senior, enjoys acting and reading in her free time. In addition to her schoolwork, she participates in the National Charity League and a peer tutoring program. Ms. Lee plans on majoring in Biology and becoming a scientific researcher in the future.
Mr. Shieh, a junior, enjoys photography and playing chess. He is an active member of InterAct and the Youth Corps at school. Mr. Shieh plans to major in Computer Science and aspires to be an intellectual property lawyer, which would allow him to combine his interest in computers and policy debate.
Plainview Old-Bethpage John F.
Kennedy High School
Plainview, New York
Middle States Region Silver Medal Winners
Sexual Selection in Drosophila: A behavioral, Morphological, and Geographic Study
By examining how females choose between males with different morphological traits, Benjamin Pollack and Abhinav Khanna have demonstrated sexual selection as a likely evolutionary mechanism in two different species of Drosophila (fruit fly) and in two different situations. One of these may represent a rare case of incipient speciation, that is the formation of two species from one. The results of their research may provide greater understanding of how traits evolve in almost any organism. The team’s mentor was Dr. John R. True, SUNY Stony Brook.
Benjamin Pollack, a senior, is a Siemens Westinghouse Competition veteran, having been named a semi-finalist in the 2004-05 competition. He is involved in the North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital’s VIP program, which enables him to shadow doctors and nurses in the Emergency Room. Mr. Pollack is fluent in Spanish and is learning to read Hebrew. In his free time, he enjoys building 3-D puzzles and playing golf. He hopes to study biology and marketing in college and aspires to run a Fortune 500 company in the pharmaceutical industry.
Abhinav Khanna, a senior, is the co-president of the Science Olympiad. Mr. Khanna is a mathlete and an athlete, having served as captain of his school’s varsity means swim team. Fluent in Hindi and proficient in Spanish, Mr. Khanna first fell in love with math and science when his grandmother gave him math problems to solve for fun. He plans to major in biology and aspires to be a physician.
Troy High School
Troy High School
Western Region Silver Medal Winners
Theoretical Mechanisms and Kinetics of the Abstraction Reactions of Fluorinated Acetones by Chlorine Radical
Huy Nguyen and Gerald Tiu’s chemistry research was inspired by a concern for the environment. Because they live in Los Angeles, Mr. Tie and Mr. Nguyen, who suffered from asthma as a child, were interested in studying atmospheric pollutants. They chose to research hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a relatively new replacement for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a refrigerant believed to contribute to the depletion of the ozone. In their study, they examined fluorinated acetones, which are potential byproducts of HFCs degradation. Their results may help to explain the environmental impact of HFCs and other CFC alternatives. Dr. Fu-Ming Tao, Professor of Chemistry at California State University, Fullerton, was their mentor.
Fluent in Vietnamese, Mr. Nguyen, a senior, enjoys swimming, waterskiing and downhill skiing. He holds a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Mr. Nguyen is president and founder of the Troy High School Ocean Science Club and a member of Vietnamese In Person and Future Business Leaders of America. An accomplished pianist, he has been invited to the Branch Honors Recital for the Certificate of Merit program for five consecutive years and has been named a national winner in the National Guild Auditions for Piano for nine consecutive years.
Fluent in Burmese, Mr. Tiu, a senior, is the co-news editor of The Oracle, Troy High School’s newspaper. He is also a member of Philipinos Sharing Smiles Together (PSST), a group that performs cultural and modern dances for charities, families and schools. He cites shows like "The Magic School Bus" and "Bill Nye the Science Guy" in helping cultivate his love of science. Mr. Tiu plans to study biochemistry or biomedical engineering in college and hopes one day to conduct oncology research as people close to him have been affected by cancer.
Oak Ridge High School
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Southern Region Silver Medal Winners
Searching With Comprehension: Going Beyond Google
For their project in Natural Language Processing/Named Entity Recognition, Patricia Brent, Nick Grabenstein and Tarik Umar developed a software program that teaches computers to recognize different noun types – the names of locations, organizations, and people – as they appear in electronic documents. Their research could be used to improve the relevance of search results with potential applications in homeland security and disease research. Dr. Nagiza Samatova, Ramya Krishnamurthy and Christopher Symons of Oak Ridge National Laboratory were their mentors.
Ms. Brent, a senior, speaks fluent German and is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Club and Science Club. Her favorite subjects are calculus, chemistry and journalism. Her dream job is to work for Google.
Mr. Grabenstein, a senior, has participated in the National Science Bowl (top 16 teams in the nation) and the National Science Olympiad (top 25 teams). His favorite subjects are calculus, linear algebra and physics. He is also an avid soccer player and enjoys programming and building computers. He aspires to be a physicist or mathematician.
Mr. Umar, a senior, is fluent in Spanish and has participated in the Cumberland College Science Bowl and National Chemistry Olympiad. He plans to compete in the Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition and National BrainBee. A jazz pianist and saxophonist, Mr. Umar enjoys break-dancing, cooking and trading stocks.
Detroit Country Day School
Beverly Hills, MI
Ran (Ron) Li
Valley Stream Central High School
Valley Stream, NY
New England Region Silver Medal Winners
A New Spin on Wound Healing Scaffolds: Optimization through Molecular and Physical Design
The goal of Mr. Grewal and Mr. Li’s create a more hospitable and structurally-enhanced second-generation hydrogel wound-healing matrix. Such research may ultimately help in curing wounds that fail to heal that are typical of patients who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes or who are bed-ridden. The team’s study introduced a new molecular model system that may allow hydrogel matrices to bind growth factors critical to wound healing. Their mentors were Kaustabh Ghosh, Dr. Richard A.F. Clark, Yuan Ji and Dr. Miriam Rafailovich.
Fluent in Punjabi, Hindi and Spanish, Mr. Grewal, a junior, received first place honors and second place honors respectively at the Detroit Science Fair and the Michigan State Science Fair. A tabla (Indian drums) player for 12 years, he has placed first at the Annual Competition in Windsor, Canada. He enjoys running and is an editor of the Blue & Gold Yearbook and a staff writer at the Day Times newspaper. A volunteer at William Beaumont Hospital, he plans to become a doctor and one day hopes to open a free health clinic in his community.
Ran Li, a senior, is the founder and president of Future Medical Leaders, a club that sponsors information sessions on medical careers and current medical issues. As president, he helped implement an internship program for high school students and organized a CPR training session. Fluent in Chinese, he enjoys ping pong and plays on his school’s varsity tennis team. An accomplished violinist, Mr. Li has performed with the All State Symphony and String Orchestra, and Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. Earlier this year, he presented at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Mid-Atlantic Section Fall 2005 Conference. He plans to study biology and political science in college.
Adams High School
Rochester Hills, MI
Troy High School
Midwest Region Silver Medal Winners
Atorvastatin regulates basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor gene expression and neurogenesis after stroke in retired breeder rats
Jennifer Ding and Ang Li’s research could potentially help the post-stroke neurological recovery of older patients. The two students investigated the mechanisms of neurogenesis induced by atorvastatin, specifically whether or not atorvastatin treatment enhances neurogenesis after stroke in older animals. They were mentored by Michael Chopp, Vice Chairman of Neurology and Alex Zacharek, Senior Research Assistant, Henry Ford Hospital.
Jennifer Ding, a senior, is fluent in Chinese and is a member of Key Club and National Honor Society. She has participated in the Science Olympiad. Ms. Ding has played the piano for nine years and has played the flute with the Rochester Adams Concert Band. She became interested in this area of research after learning that both her grandmother and grandfather died from stroke. Ms. Ding plans to study either biochemistry or biology in college and would like to become a doctor.
Ang Li, a junior, became interested in this research after seeing many stroke victims in the hospital where he volunteers. He is a member of Med Club and Red Cross and is also fluent in Chinese. Mr. Li has played the clarinet for five years. He plans to study either biochemistry or biology in the hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon.