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REF NO.: 154
SUBJECT: Local teen scientists win prestigious biotech awards
DATE: April 28
|Jennifer Graham of Marystown Central High took second place in the 5th Annual Aventis Biotech Challenge, hosted by Bio~East. Jennifer's project explored the effect of reduced gravity on the growth of mould, something that could potentially plague astronauts and their machinery. Jennifer was presented with her award by Paula Clarke of the GENESIS Group.|
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Tim Loomis, a student at Mount Pearl Senior High School, claimed the $2000 cash award at a ceremony held on April 4, 2003 at Memorial University's Field House. Mr. Loomis' project involved extraction and identification of all the active ingredients of camomile, a commonly used herbal remedy for everything from motion sickness to migraines, to isolate compounds that could be used to target specific illnesses.
"Participating in the Aventis Biotech Challenge was an excellent experience," Tim Loomis said. The opportunity to work with a mentor in a real laboratory and to conduct my own research was very beneficial. I am continuing my research to prepare for the national competition, but would have continued with this project anyway."
The $1500 second place prize went to Jennifer Graham of Marystown Central High School for her research on the effect of reduced gravity on the growth of mould. The rapid growth of mould has been a plague for both man and machine on extended space flights. Angela Wareham and Jessica Stanford of Holy Heart of Mary High School took the $1000 third place for their project titled Allergen Detector Test, which explored the development of a test strip for people who have food allergies. Fourth and fifth place prizes went to teams Laura Craig and Danica Carter, and James Hanley and Robert Mercer for their projects Cleaning Dirt and Fungus is Our Friend respectively.
Aventis Pasteur Limited has been the competition's lead sponsor since the inception of the biotech awards program 10 years ago. More than 100 organizations are partnered with Aventis Pasteur in supporting this educational outreach initiative.
"We wholeheartedly support The Aventis Biotech Challenge because it represents an investment in the future of the brightest young Canadian students and the next generation of scientific leaders," said Mark Lievonen, Aventis Pasteur Limited President.
Prize money is shared between the students and their schools. The criteria used to judge the projects included scientific merit, creativity, originality and potential commercial applications.
Tim Loomis will compete against other regional winners at the national competition, which will be held via video conference on May 30. Each first-place regional team will present their research to a panel of judges gathered at the National Research Council headquarters in Ottawa. The winning team from the national competition goes to Washington, DC in June to compete against US teams at BIO 2003, the world's largest gathering of biotechnology leaders.
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