Girls swept the top prizes in America’s premier high school science competition for the first time in its nine-year history as Isha Jain and the team of Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff were named $100,000 Grand Prize winners in the 2007–08 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board. The ninth annual awards were presented at New York University, host of the Siemens Competition National Finals, last month.
Isha Jain, a senior at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, PA, won the $100,000 scholarship in the individual category for research on bone growth. Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff, seniors at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, NY, won the $100,000 prize in the team category, which they will share equally, for research on tuberculosis.
“These students have climbed the Mount Everest of science competitions and reached the summit,” says Thomas McCausland, chairman of the Siemens Foundation. “With all the challenges facing our world today, it is heartening to know these remarkable young people are working on the solutions.”
Isha Himani Jain’s research focused on zebra fish bone growth that adds a new dimension to our understanding of human bone growth and our ability to treat bone injuries and disorders. Jain’s project is entitled “Bone Growth in Zebra Fish Fins Occurs via Multiple Pulses of Cell Proliferation.”
“Scientists and parents alike know that growth is not linear but occurs in spurts,” notes Stephen J. Moorman, Ph.D., associate professor, neuroscience and cell biology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, a competition judge. “Jain is the first to identify mini spurts, a cellular mechanism that underlies growth spurts on a molecular level. This is graduate-level work.”
Jain’s research has been published in Developmental Dynamics, a journal in the field of developmental biology.
Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff won the team category and will share a $100,000 scholarship for a drug discovery project that could lead to the first new tuberculosis treatment in 35 years. Their project is entitled “FtsZ Inhibitors as Novel Chemotherapeutic Agents for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.”
“Tuberculosis is the number one bacterial killer in the world, with ten million new cases every year,” says Scott Franzblau, Ph.D., professor and director of the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a competition judge. “Yet there have been no new drugs to treat TB in the last 35 years. These students synthesized new compounds to kill tuberculosis by targeting a specific protein that could lead to a new treatment for drug-resistant TB.”
The other life science research projects and winners include: