Indian Americans Show Their Class Ten Named Intel Science Contest Finalists

NEW YORK (TIP): Ten IndianAmerican high school students areamong the 40 finalists in the 2013Intel Science Talent Search.Students will compete March 7-13in Washington, D.C., for $630,000 inawards, with the top winnerreceiving $100,000 from the IntelFoundation.New York led all states with sevenIntel finalists this year, followed byCalifornia with six.Of the ten Indian Americanfinalists, three are from California:Paulomi Bhattacharya of Cupertino,a senior at The Harker School inSan Jose; Pavan Mehrotra, of SimiValley, who attends Sierra CanyonSchool in Chatsworth; and SahanaVasudevan of Palo Alto, a studentat the Gnyanam Academy. Two arefrom Portland, Ore: Naomi Shah ofSunset High School and RaghavTripathi of Westview High School.The other four finalists are fromGeorgia, Kentucky, Massachusettsand Tennessee.

Mayuri’s project is titled”Computational Analysis of theDNA-Binding Mechanism of thep53 Tumor Suppressor and its Inactivationthrough the R249S Mutation”. MayuriSridhar, a 17-year-old senior at Kings ParkHigh School accepted to MassachusettsInstitute of Technology as an early actionapplicant, attended the Kings Park Board ofEducation meeting Tuesday night, shortlyafter receiving a phone call from Intel,alerting her to her finalist status.For her project, Sridhar studied thestructure of the p53 protein, a tumorsuppressor that helps prevent cancer.”Experimental research has shown that theloss of tumor suppressors, such as the p53protein, is highly correlated with thedevelopment of tumor cells,” Sridharexplained in a previous interview.

“I wantedto create a better cancer diagnostictechnique.”Toward the end of her research, Sridharrealized she had possibly done that.”A week before submitting my entry, all myresults flipped around and I could not for thelife of me figure out why,” she said.”Eventually I realized my results wereproving the experiment wrong. I was reallyhappy because I was able to prove that I couldactually create better diagnostic techniquesthat hadn’t been done before. That was thebest moment.”At the Tuesday meeting, KPHS scienceresearch coordinator Mary Ellen Faycongratulated Sridhar.”This is the second time we are in thissituation, which is, I think, phenomenal,” shesaid. “Do you know the first time was hersister?”In 2008, Hamsa Sridhar became Kings ParkHigh School’s first student to be named anIntel finalist.”Genes, environment, whatever it is,they’re doing something really right in thathousehold,” Fay said.

Paulomi Bhattacharya’s project is titled “A NovelAAA-ATPase p97/VCP Inhibitor Lead for MultipleMyeloma by Fragment-Based Drug Design: AComputational Binding Model and NMR/SPR-BasedValidation.”An 18-year-old senior at Harker, she has been doingscientific research in fields as diverse as bioengineeringand chemical engineering since the eighth grade, the SanJose Mercury News reported.”It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true,” she said. TheIndian American student did laboratory work to find adrug with the potential to shut off a protein responsible formultiple myeloma, a cancer that affects plasma cells.She identified and tested many drug candidates lastsummer before finding one that worked. “Research is somuch about failing over and over again, and finally whenyou succeed, it’s wonderful,” she told the Mercury News.

Sahana Vasudevan made the finals with the project:”Minimizing the Number of Carries in the Set ofCoset Representatives of a Normal Subgroup.” Theresearch could improve the speed and efficiency ofcomputer algorithms.Pavan Mehrotra advanced with “Facile, Single StepConversion of Biomass to Electricity.”

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Two Indian American finalists are from Portland,Ore. Naomi Shah of Sunset High School advancedwith the project, “The Toxicological Effect ofAirborne Pollutants on Lung Health.”

Raghav Tripathi of Westview High School inPortland submitted “Design and Synthesis of NovelFatty Acid Binding Protein Inhibitors for Analgesicand Anti-Inflammatory Effects through Increases inEndogenous Anandamide Concentrations.”Raghav Tripathi of Westview High School in Portlandsubmitted “Design and Synthesis of Novel Fatty Acid BindingProtein Inhibitors for Analgesic and Anti-InflammatoryEffects through Increases in Endogenous AnandamideConcentrations.”

Raja Selvakumar, Milton High School, Alpharetta,Ga., “Gastro Microbial Fuel Cell: A NovelImplementation of a GMFC in CapsularNanorobotics”; Naethan Mundkur, duPont Manual HighSchool, Louisville, Kentucky, “Investigation into theThermal and Rheological Properties of CuO Nanofluids forHeat Transfer Applications”; Surya Bhupatiraju, LexingtonHigh School, Lexington, Mass., “On the Complexity of theMarginal Satisfiability Problem”, and AkshayPadmanabha, Houston High School, Collierville, Tenn.,”Predicting, Detecting, and Treating Seizures throughVagus Nerve Stimulation.”Finalists are rated on original scientific research,achievement, and leadership inside and outside theclassroom. Winners will be unveiled at an awardsceremony at the National Building Museum March 12.Society for Science and the Public, a nonprofit groupdedicated to public engagement in scientific research andeducation, has administered the competition since itsinception in 1942. The 40 finalists were narrowed downfrom 300 semifinalists and more than 1,700 entrants.

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