For the third straight year, one of Delaware’s own did the First State proud at the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge, a scientific research competition for high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology.
Bansri Patel, a junior at Sussex Tech in Georgetown, was named as one of 10 finalists in the national competition and moved on to compete in the International BioGENEius Challenge, taking on 13 other high school students from the United States, Australia and Canada.
Natalie Ng of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif., emerged as the first-place winner in the international challenge and earned the top prize, a $7,500 cash award.
Patel made the national round after placing as one of two finalists in the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge earlier this year. Her research project is “Evaluating the Behavioral and Developmental Effects of BPA and BPS on the Model Invertebrate C. elegans.” Joining Patel in the national challenge was Anna Gonye, a junior at the Charter School of Wilmington, whose project was “The Effects of Environmental Toxins on Planarian Regeneration.”
“The success of Bansri and Anna on the national level indicates great promise for their futures and for our future,” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said. “Innovation is a major part of Delaware’s past, and it will be an even bigger part of tomorrow. These two young people demonstrate the potential of biotech innovation of the future.”
Delaware has been well represented since it first began sending students to compete at the national level three years ago. Achille Tenkiang from the Charter School of Wilmington, and Priyen Patel from Sussex Technical High School, made it to the international competition in 2011 and represented Delaware at the national level in 2012.
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 the Sanofi-Aventis Group, a leading global pharmaceutical company, and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.