Teen Science Sensations From New York and Indiana Take Regional Title in Prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

Research on Chemistry and Materials Science/Nanoscience Honored in Nation's Premier Science Research Competition for High School Students at Carnegie Mellon University

Nevin Daniel of Port Jefferson Station, New York, Wins Top Individual Prize; Santhosh Narayan of Munster, Indiana, Nikhil Mehandru of Roslyn, New York and Sonya Prasad of Roslyn Heights, New York, Win Top Team Prize

Nov 20, 2010, 21:28 ET from Siemens Foundation

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Cutting edge research involving anti-cancer drug delivery and cancer detection earned top honors tonight for Nevin Daniel and the team of Santhosh Narayan, Nikhil Mehandru and Sonya Prasad in the Region Four Finals of the 2010-11 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's premier science research competition for high school students.  

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20070904/SIEMENSLOGO )

The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board.  Tonight's winners will receive thousands of dollars in scholarships and be invited to compete at the National Finals in Washington, DC, December 3–6, 2010, where the winners of six regional competitions will vie for the $100,000 Grand Prize and national acclaim for extraordinary scientific achievement at the high school level.  

"Each year, the Siemens Foundation invites America's high school students to make their mark in the world of science," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation.  "We commend these students on rising to the challenge and pushing the envelope of scientific thought."

The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), host of the Region Four Finals.  

The Winning Individual

Nevin Daniel, a senior at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York, won the individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for his chemistry project, Novel Asymmetrical Bow-Tie PAMAM Dendrimer Conjugates as Model Systems for Anticancer Taxoid Drug Delivery.

Mr. Daniel's research goal was to develop a new method for anti-cancer drug delivery, leading to more effective, specific and biocompatible chemotherapeutic treatments for cancer patients.   He studied dendrimers – or repeatedly branched, roughly spherical large molecules.    

"By successfully attaching a targeting component and a drug to the dendrimers, he was able to build a molecular structure that could potentially be used to treat cancer cells," said lead judge Dr. Bruce Armitage, Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. "His structure was sophisticated and required a complex, multi-step process to create.  The depth of his understanding of organic chemistry is remarkable, usually requires years of training and is rare even for early graduate students."  

A 2009 Siemens Competition Semifinalist, Mr. Nevin has won over 30 Science Olympiad regional, state, and national medals.  At school, he is president of the Science Bowl and editor of the school newspaper and literary magazine.  He has performed at Carnegie Hall playing the violin and the viola with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York. In college, Mr. Daniel plans to major in biomedical engineering or pre-medicine.  He hopes to become a biomedical research scientist leading his own laboratory. His mentor on this project is Dr. Iwao Ojima, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of Institute of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery, SUNY Stony Brook.

The Winning Team

Santhosh Narayan, a senior at Munster High School in Munster, Indiana, Nikhil Mehandru, a senior at Roslyn High School in Roslyn New York and Sonya Prasad, a senior at the Wheatley School in Old Westbury, New York, won the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their materials science/nanoscience project, Engineering Nanoscale Biosensors with Thermoreversible Hydrogels for a Dual Therapy of Cancer Detection and Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery.

The team created a sensor chip that successfully accomplished real-time detection of specific protein molecules found in cancer patients.  The second half of their research involved synthesizing a drug-loaded gel that could be electronically triggered to release the drug.   In the future they hope to create a single device that could serve both these functions, simultaneously diagnosing a patient and administering an anti-cancer drug.

"We were most impressed by the team's interdisciplinary approach to their research, which is required for broad impact in this particular area," said lead judge Dr. Bruce Armitage. "For such young students to not only be introduced to this method of research but to be proficient in it as well gives them a huge head start in becoming scientists."

Santhosh Narayan is a member of the chess team and ping-pong club and is involved in many sports including football, basketball and Ultimate Frisbee.  When he isn't playing sports, he serves as a peer tutor to underprivileged students and participates in piano recitals in nursing homes.  Mr. Narayan plans to study biomedical engineering, biochemistry and finance in college and pursue a career that combines technology, business and law.

A 2009 Siemens Competition Semifinalist, Nikhil Mehandru has co-authored two peer-reviewed abstracts on cardiac research.  He enjoys model building and graphic design, works as a volunteer EMT, and has shadowed a practicing neurologist. Mr. Mehandru decided to pursue a research project involving both cancer detection and treatment after his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He plans to study biology and biomedical engineering in college and would like to become an oncology researcher.

An All-State Orchestra and All-State Chorale musician who serves as a volunteer viola teacher, Ms. Prasad also enjoys classical Indian singing and dance.  She is editor in chief of her school literary magazine and secretary of Model United Nations/World Affairs Club.  Ms. Prasad plans to study biochemistry in college and aspires to lead a nonprofit organization aimed at helping those in need.

The team's mentor on this project is Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor, Stony Brook University.

Regional Finalists

The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship.  Regional Finalists in the individual category were:

  • Ashley Chapin, Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, New York
  • Kevin Chen, Ward Melville High School, East Setauket, New York
  • Nicholas Moon, Horace Mann School, Bronx, New York
  • Joseph Park, Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York

Team Regional Finalists were:

  • Daryl Chang, Saratoga High School, Saratoga, California and Sanjay Palat, Smithtown High School East, St. James, New York
  • Mishka Gidwani, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Illinois and Kunal Sangani, Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Manlius, New York
  • Emmanuel Kim and Anna Sato, Ward Melville High School, East Setauket, New York
  • Jay Shim, Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York  and David Cho, Rye Country Day School, Rye, New York

The Siemens Competition

The Siemens Competition was launched in 1998 to recognize America's best and brightest math and science students. Every fall, America turns its eye to the brilliant young scientists competing in the Siemens Competition.  2,033 students registered to enter the Competition this year for a record number of 1,372 projects submitted.   312 students were named semifinalists and 94 were named regional finalists, representing 36 states.  Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed scientists at six leading research universities which host the regional competitions:  California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin.

Follow the Siemens Foundation on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sfoundation) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SiemensFoundation) for updates throughout the 2010-11 Siemens Competition.  Then visit www.siemens-foundation.org at 9:30am EST on December 6 for a live webcast of the National Finalist Awards Presentation.

The Siemens Foundation

The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues.  By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's scientists and engineers.  The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens' U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG.  For more information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org.

The College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.  Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education.  Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,700 of the nation's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.  Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success – including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®.  The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools.

SOURCE Siemens Foundation