One California student and three New York students have been awarded scholarships worth $100,000 for their research in anti-flu medicine and the resistance of ozone in plants.
In this year's Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology (STEM), a number of high school students competed for scholarships and grant prizes given by the tech giant. The prizes for the grand final of the competition -- in which six individual and six finalist teams competed -- were presented this week at The George Washington University.
In the individual category, Eric Chen, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, Calif., won the $100,000 top prize for his discovery of potent influenza endonuclease inhibitors by combining computer modeling with experimental research, which could potentially be used to develop anti-fly drugs.
In the team category, research on plants' resistance to ozone earned Priyanka Wadgaonkar, Zainab Mahmood, Hewlett and JiaWen Pei of New York a shared $100,000 scholarship. The team characterized the "ozone responsive stress related protein" gene in a fern model system that confers protective resistance against ozone pollution. This gene has the potential to make important crops more resistant to ozone and other problems such as drought and soil salinity, which could help in the realm of food production in the future.
Five additional scholarships worth between $10,000 and $50,000 were also awarded to finalist teams, and five for individual projects.
The Siemens Competition was launched in 1998, and a total of 2,440 students registered for the competition this year.