Today, Cupertino Junior Natalie Ng won the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. Natalie’s research in breast cancer and biomarkers helped her stand out from the 13 other finalists from across the U.S., Canada and Australia competing for the Challenge’s top prize, a $7,500 cash award.
The winner was named during the 2013 BIO International Convention’s keynote luncheon. The International BioGENEius Challenges is one of the few international competitions to host participants at a leading industry conference, and this year, Natalie and the other finalists had the opportunity to share the stage with a group of rising stars in science and healthcare who Forbes deemed the brightest stars under the age of 30.
Prior to sharing the stage with the top three finalists and the group of rising stars, Natalie participated in the BayBio BioGENEius Challenge and U.S. BioGENEius challenge. Competing in this rigorous competition requires student participants to not only conduct research using a graduate-level research skill set, but also working with a mentor who can help guide their project.
“At a time where our nation is concerned about simply engaging students in the sciences, the BioGENEius Challenge fills a gap by providing exemplary students with further encouragement and support,” said Amy Finan, president of the Biotechnology Institute, the organization that hosts the Challenge. “This Challenge enables students to continue their research and design an original, independent research project.”
Natalie was not only evaluated on the quality of her research, but also on her presentation in small and large group settings and her responses to questions testing her scientific knowledge. Moreover, the student’s research was judged on the potential commercial applications of their project.
Natalie’s project, titled, “Advancing Precision Medicine: MicroRNA Prognostic Signatures and Prediction Models for Distant Metastasis-Free Survival in Breast Cancer,” seeks to investigate the role miRNAs play in mediating growth, invasiveness, and metastasis of breast cancer cells.
The second, third, and fourth place winners, who won $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000, respectively were:
- Jiho Park – Irvine, California
- Eric Chen – San Diego, California
- Selin Jessa – Coquitlam, British Columbia
The U.S. National and International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous Co-Lead Supporters of the Challenge include Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of leading global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Additional support of the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, BioMarin and Sangamo BioSciences.