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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

"Their innovative approach bridges two disparate disciplines that may one day yield a new class of powerful vaccines for treating devastating human diseases," said competition judge Dr. Ilya Finkelstein, assistant professor, Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin. "The students' command of their research project and the broader scientific aims is on par with that of advanced graduate students. This work may one day stand on its own as an important contribution to usher in a new era of vaccine development."

Alyssa is the secretary and three-time all-region member of the Highlander String Orchestra and a Decathlete in the Academic Decathalon. Her deep-seated interest in biology sparked her desire to become a gastroenterologist.

Shriya is heavily involved in the arts with key roles in her honors choir, the school's annual musical, and Indian classical music and dance performances. She also participates in her high school's robotics club and tutors in reading and math. Shriya aspires to a career in medicine or technology.

The team's mentor is Dr. Jinming Gao, professor, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Regional Finalists

The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship.

Regional Finalists in the individual category were:
  • Stacy Ho, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton, Texas
  • Silin Li, Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Ala.
  • William Ou, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton, Texas
  • Piper Reid, Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs, Texas

Team Regional Finalists were:
  • Jia-Uei Chen, C. Leon King High School, Tampa, Fla.; Patrick Guo, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas; and Jessica Yu, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas
  • Angeline Rao, William P. Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas; Vinciane Chen, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas; and Alexander Yang, William P. Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas
  • Shaayaan Sayed, Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas; and Bassel Saleh, Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas
  • Evan Shegog, Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas; and Joshua Wang, Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas

The Siemens Competition  Launched in 1998, the Siemens Competition is the nation's premier science research competition for high school students.  A record 2,440 students registered for this year's competition and a total of 1,599 projects were submitted for consideration.  Three hundred thirty-one students were named Semifinalists and 100 were named Regional Finalists.  Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed scientists at six leading research universities that host the regional competitions:  California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin.

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