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Texas Students Win Regional Siemens Competition At The University Of Texas At Austin For Research On Cancer Therapy And Vaccine Development

"It's top-tier science. Frederick discovered what could be a very promising new approach to treating cancer by making human cells transgenic," said competition judges Dr. Janice Fischer, professor, and Dr. Blerta Xhemalce, assistant professor, both in Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin. "He commands a breadth of knowledge in technique and tools that is impressive for a high school student. The sophistication of the approach and the science of his research could serve as a cornerstone publication in the field."

Inspired by his parents' work as physicians in a cancer center, Frederick similarly is keen to pursue a profession in biomedical research, or as an engineer allowing him to apply both math and science. He is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, and a member of the Junior States of America club. Additionally, he is captain of his school's varsity soccer team and a two-year participant and "lead teacher" in the school's annual community service trip to Costa Rica.

His mentor is Dr. Anwar Hossain, senior research scientist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Neurosurgery.

The Winning Team

Alyssa Chen, a junior at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, and Shriya Das, a junior at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, won the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their project entitled, Encapsulation of c-di-GMP Adjuvant into pH-tunable Micelle-based Nanoparticle Heightens Immune Response.

In their research on vaccine development, Alyssa and Shriya merged the disciplines of nanotechnology and immunology to develop adjuvants, molecules that can boost immune responses.  By encapsulating the adjuvant, the team was able to increase its potency and facilitate its delivery directly into the immune cell. The team's discovery could have the potential to develop more vaccines for cancer and difficult-to-cure infectious diseases.

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