College of Technology Supports "Genius" of High School Biotech Students

Ten of the brightest young minds in biotech have won the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge. Among the winners are two high school students from Texas who advanced to compete with students from Canada and Australia in the International BioGENEius Challenge, at the 2012 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention in Boston.

The U.S. National and International BioGENEius Challenges are competitions for high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects.

The UH Center for Life Sciences, directed by Dr. Rupa Iyer in the College of Technology, administered this competition to send two very talented Texas Science Fair winners to the U.S. BioGENEius Challenge and the International BioTechnology Conference. The competition was for high school-aged winners from 17 Texas Science Fairs. The two talented Texas area high school students selected are:

Kevin Nguyen, Plano, Texas for his research on The Development of Novel Sutures that Store and Deliver Nitric Oxide for Wound Healing.

Morgan Sinko, San Antonio, Texas for his research on Pop Goes the Diesel: A Linoleic Acid/R. rhodochrous Mixture as a Bioremediation Agent of Diesel Contaminants in Saltwater and Freshwater Environments.

"The U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge is like the Olympic trials for life science, promoting excellence, curiosity and a biotech-driven career among its participants and these students get a chance to compete for gold in the International BioGENEius Challenge," said Tom Wiggans, chair of the Biotechnology Institute. "We encourage our students to understand and make the connection between their research for the vast potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems."

Students were evaluated on the quality of their research and display, their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge, and the potential commercial applications of their research.

"Each year, the BioGENEius Challenge showcases the biotech industry's next generation of leaders and I continued to be amazed at the steep level of competition. These students are the best of the best and all gold medal scientists in my book," said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., Vice President for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur.

"As exemplified by the upcoming Olympics, competition can inspire the best. Giving one's best in biotechnology means helping create a better world for us all," said Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "We are proud to support, encourage, and recognize the outstanding efforts of these students in the BioGENEius Challenge."

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education, and sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi and Janssen.

In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, The Astellas Foundation, BIO, Genentech, MedImmune, and U.S. National Supporters provide support for the BioGENEius Challenge: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation and Sangamo BioSciences.