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REF NO.: 257

SUBJECT: Newfoundland and Labrador student team does tea-riffic at national Aventis Biotech Challenge

DATE: May 17

Two Newfoundland and Labrador high school students, Sarah Small and Ronan MacParland won an award for “greatest commercial potential” for their project, Tea-riffic Skin at the National Aventis Biotech Challenge ( on May 12.

Ms. Small and Mr. MacParland’s project started with looking at the known health benefits of drinking green tea and they determined that the benefits would still be present if applied to the skin. The students, with the assistance of their mentor, Dr. Christina Bottaro, Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, extracted the active ingredients in the green tea and incorporated them into a cream base.

The team then tested their product for safety, anti-oxidant properties and UV absorbency. Their tests showed that the cream had very good anti-oxidant properties, which also indicated that it has the potential to prevent cancer and premature aging.

According to Ms. Small, the most exciting result was that the cream is 100 percent UV absorbent, making it a very effective protector against the sun’s harmful rays. The team is now thinking about taking their product to market.

Ms. Small and Mr. MacParland are both grade 11 students from Holy Heart of Mary High School (St. John’s) and won the Newfoundland and Labrador Aventis Biotech Challenge held on April 1-3.

The Genesis Group, the commercialization arm of Memorial University, has hosted the Aventis Biotech Challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador for the past six years and sees this event as an opportunity to show students the real world of science and entrepreneurship. “The laboratory work was particularly interesting and really gave us an appreciation of what researchers have to go through to develop the products we use every day,” said Ms. Small.

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