London, Ontario, April 18, 2012 – Ground-breaking research by a 16-year-old Waterloo student that investigated nanocrystalline cellulose as a novel and renewable antioxidant has earned top prize in the Southwestern Ontario regional competition of the “2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)”, a biotechnology research competition that encourages students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology.
Grade 12 student Janelle Tam won the top $3000 regional prize, plus a $2000 scholarship offer from Western University, looking for – and finding — a non-toxic, biocompatible, water-soluble stable antioxidant. Second place, earning a $2000 prize and a $1500 scholarship offer from Western University was Jessie MacAlpine, of Woodstock, Ontario, for a project that looked at the weed-control properties of coffee extracts. The third prize ($1250 plus $1000 each scholarship offer from Western University) went to a deserving trio: Ronald Vuong, Ian Rodgers and Bhawandeep Panesar, from Guelph, Ontario for a project that looked into fluorescent proteins to increase the efficiency of solar cells.
First Place recipient, Janelle Tam, had this to say: “This was a really fun, a lot of hard work but so worth it in the end. I am so happy!”
According to regional coordinator, Matt Devereux, “The students in this competition represent some of the brightest young scientists in Canada and I congratulate them all on their outstanding achievements. Initiatives like these are key in encouraging youth to consider science as a career path and in fostering new talent in the life sciences sector in Canada.”
“Over the past 19 years, we have helped more than 4,000 Canadian youth bring their passion, creativity and scientific ideas to life,” said Rick Levick, Executive Director, Bioscience Education Canada. The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is unique because it partners participating students with mentors who have access to quality lab equipment and supplies. With the help of our community and sponsors across this country, we are creating a vital talent pool in Canada’s growing and important biotechnology sector.”
The “2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” sees students compete in nine regional competitions throughout April. The regional winners, including Janelle Tam, will participate in the national competition at the National Research Council in, Ottawa on May 7. The winners will be announced at 1 pm EDT Tuesday May 8. The first and second place winners of the national “2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” will advance to the International BioGENEius Challenge held in Boston, MA on June 18, 2012, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention.
This year, more than 240 high school and CEGEP students across Canada have submitted 192 projects that range from exploring potential new drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer to using mold fungi as an alternative to traditional pesticides.
About the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)
The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is a national, biotechnology research competition that encourages high school and CEGEP students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology. Coordinated by Bioscience Education Canada since its beginning in 1993, the initiative is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi Canada, Genome Canada, the National Research Council Canada (NRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Canada’s Youth Awareness Program.
SBCC Coordinator, southwestern Ontario region
Bioscience Education Canada
Tel: 416-878-8712; 416-538-8712
Tel: 416-944-2145 ext 303