Region 6: Georgia Institute of Technology
Regional Finalists
Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, FL
PROJECT: Mass Spectrometry Based Proteomic Characterization of Host
Cell Glycoproteins during Dengue Virus 2 Vesicular Budding and
Transmission from Human to Mosquito
FIELD: Biology
MENTOR: Rhoel Dinglasan, Assistant Professor and Principle
Investigator, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore,
“I really like that I am always surprised by what has been achieved in the
science community, and yet that there are so many more questions to be
Carly was inspired to conduct mosquito and arbovirus research after her uncle was diagnosed with West
Nile virus in Jacksonville, Florida. Carly was amazed by the ability for something so small, such as a
mosquito, or even smaller, such as the virus itself, to seriously injure someone so large in ratio.
She has identified over 500 proteins on dengue virus that may be involved with virus reception and
transmission. This identification enhances the overall knowledge of the virus, and could potentially lead
to the development of a vaccine for dengue virus.
Carly finds advanced STEM classes intriguing because they force you to think beyond the information
and extrapolate. She is the National Art Society president and participates in the Speech and Debate
team. Carly holds multiple honors in French and is a mentor through her Science Seminar class. She
aspires to be a trauma surgeon for the Navy and a Congresswoman.
Lexington High School, Lexington, MA
HOMETOWN: Lexington, MA
PROJECT: Resolving a Conjecture on Degree of Regularity, with some
Novel Structural Results
FIELD: Mathematics
MENTOR: Mr. Laszlo Miklos Lovasz, graduate student, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
“I like the fact that different fields of math and science are becoming
more interrelated.”
Noah’s project proved a conjecture in a field of mathematics called Ramsey theory, which was open for
nearly a decade, and then proved some further generalizations of it. Ramsey theory has a variety of
applications, including areas in computer science and information theory.
Noah enjoys the creativity necessary to come up with solutions to difficult math problems, and is
inspired by the diverse ways in which mathematics has been applied to many different scientific fields
and types of problems. He speaks three languages, tutors high school students in math, plays tennis, and
had two papers published in professional journals.
Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, FL
PROJECT: Effects of Surface Morphology on the Enhanced
Photoelectrochemical Properties of Nanocrystals
FIELD: Chemistry
MENTOR: Joseph DuChene, University of Florida (Gainesville,
“I enjoy the challenge of solving problems in ways no one has
thought of before, and collaborating with others who share a
genuine interest in the subject and desire to make new discoveries.”
Elizabeth determined how the individual stabilities of varying nanocrystal configurations affect solar cell
efficiency, making clean, renewable energy more cost effective and attainable to implement on large
scales. By improving the harnessing of solar energy and making solar cells more resistant to degradation,
all while keeping the cost of the materials down, Elizabeth hopes solar energy will finally be able to be
viewed as a feasible way to accommodate the increasing energy demand of a growing global population
in a way that does not harm the earth.
Elizabeth mentors and tutors students through a virtual science fair, and was a National Merit
semifinalist and National AP scholar. She speaks two languages, plays the flute and piano, and enjoys
sailing. She aspires to be a theoretical astrophysicist.
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, NC
PROJECT: Fully Automated Computational Brain Image
Segmentation for Cross-Modality Analysis of Neurodegenerative
FIELD: Computer Science
MENTOR: Dr. Sylvain Bouix, Assistant Director and Professor,
Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s
Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts)
“After 100 years of observing the brain, leading neuroscientists still say that there is so much to be
learned about the organ responsible for our everyday actions. I am inspired to uncover the structure and
function of the brain on a cellular level using an interdisciplinary, computer science based approach. I
want to be able to contribute to President Obama's new BRAIN Initiative.”
Jenny created an automated neuroimaging analysis algorithm that may be able help us better
understand neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Because existing algorithms were not effective
in analyzing the neuroimaging problem she faced, Jenny realized that she had to engineer her own
Math is Jenny’s favorite subject. She loves learning how to unravel different types of problems and
discover the proofs behind theorems. Jenny is the chief editor of a research journal, president of a state
science organization, and a dancer. She has taken 12 advanced STEM courses, speaks two languages,
and volunteers as a preschool teacher at church.
Classical High School, Providence, RI
HOMETOWN: Providence, RI
PROJECT: Generalizations of the Joints Problem
FIELD: Mathematics
MENTOR: Ben Yang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(Cambridge, Massachusetts)
“I like science because of its ability to improve the human condition we've advanced tremendously in just centuries, decades even, on the
back of technology.”
One of Joseph’s main results was to show that, in a mathematically precise sense, a certain number of
lines cannot create too many joints. Joseph feels that although real-world applications can be very hard
to come by in mathematics, his problem could conceivably have applications for computer graphics
Joseph leads his school’s math team, is captain of the state ARML team, speaks two languages, runs and
plays tennis, and has taken nine advanced STEM courses. His favorite subject is math because of its
creativity, and philosophically math is universal. He has been named a PROMYS junior counselor this
Region 6: Georgia Institute of Technology
Regional Finalists
KRISTEN SURRAO, Lakeside High School, Evans, GA
WILLIAM WU, Lakeside High School, Evans, GA
PROJECT: The Role of the Small GTPase ARF1 in Mediating the Intracellular Trafficking and Signaling of
Oncogenic G-protein Coupled Receptors in Prostate Cancer Cells
FIELD: Biochemistry
MENTOR: Guangyu Wu, Professor/Principal Investigator, Georgia Regents University (Augusta,
Georgia) and Jason Davis, Graduate Student, Georgia Regents University (Augusta, Georgia)
Kristen and William discovered the molecular mechanisms of receptor trafficking and signaling by the
small G-protein, ARF1, demonstrating that ARF1 may be a novel therapeutic target for prostate cancer.
They said the most surprising experience was the observation that knocking down ARF1 leads to an
increase in the trafficking of G-protein coupled receptors to the plasma membrane of prostate cancer
cells, when they were expecting the opposite effect would occur. They were able to explain this
surprising result by placing it in context with previous findings.
“I love science because the potential for discovery is limitless, and new
findings continually change the way we perceive the world.”
Kristen speaks two languages, earned her third-degree black belt in tae kwon
do, mentors homebound students, and volunteers at her church. She placed
1st in the Science Olympiad, and is vice president of Science National Honor
HOMETOWN: Martinez, GA
“Spreading more awareness of math and science can help draw more
students in. Social media can be a huge way to spread accomplishments and
get more students interested.”
William has placed or won several math team events, mentors homebound
students, plays competitive ping pong, and volunteers at the local Veterans
MICHAEL YOU, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
ANDREW CHARBONNEAU, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
PROJECT: Non-Linear Bubble Oscillation in Vessels and its Implication on Marine Mammal Injuries in
SONAR Operation
FIELD: Physics
MENTOR: Dr. Xuemei Chen, Patent Examiner, United States Patent and Trademark Office (Alexandria,
Michael and Andrew tested the effects of varying amplitudes of a high-energy sound source on the
nonlinear oscillation of bubbles in small tubes. This research will hopefully find a suggested SONAR
strength to minimize damage to the tissue of marine animals, such as whales.
HOMETOWN: Alexandria, VA
“Learning about science makes me more aware of the world around me, and
allows me to feel more involved in new scientific developments.”
Michael tutors elementary and middle school students in math, speaks two
languages, is a swimmer, and plays both the piano and violin. He aspires to
become an engineer that makes designs and innovations for eco-friendly
and highly efficient technologies.
HOMETOWN: Alexandria, VA
“Seeing the excitement and results of people in my school last year who
participated in the Siemens Science Competition inspired me to participate
this year.”
Andrew tutors students in math and science, speaks two languages, plays
soccer, is a runner and swimmer, plays the piano and alto saxophone. He
likes that STEM fields require active participation, hands-on
experimentation, and creativity. They change with the times and help move
society forward.
YIFEI WANG, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC
SABINA IFTIKHAR, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC
PROJECT: Identification of α-Synuclein Peptides A29-V40 and G51-Q62 as Neuronal Toxicants and
Peptides N65-A76 and G67-A78 as Neuroprotective Agents
FIELD: Biology
MENTOR: Dr. Shijun Wang, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Research Triangle
Park, North Carolina)
Yifei and Sabina identified α-synuclein peptides A29-V40 and G51-Q62 as neuronal toxicants and
peptides N65-A76 and G67-A78 as neuroprotective agents. Their study not only provides novel
mechanistic information regarding how α-synuclein causes neuronal injury but also suggests that NAC
peptides may be applied toward Parkinson's disease therapy.
HOMETOWN: Chapel Hill, NC
“Math and science are challenging and interesting. They force you to solve
real life problems.”
Yifei tutors students in math and science, speaks two languages, plays ice
hockey, and volunteers at the UNC hospital. She also plays the flute and
was chosen to be part of the Orchestra Wind. She aspires to be a
neurological surgeon.
HOMETOWN: Chapel Hill, NC
“I enjoy STEM courses because of their broad applications. I believe the
logical and technical skills I have learned will carry forward into future
work or education in any field.
Sabina has done volunteer work at children’s math and science camps,
and works at UNC's Joint Fluids Lab. She also plays lacrosse, speaks two
languages, and is a member of her school’s all-female a capella group.
Sabina’s favorite subject is history, because of the interesting parallels
that can be drawn to current events.
JESSE CAI, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
MATTHEW YU, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD
PROJECT: Induced Magnetization and Band Gap in Graphene-Like Materials: Towards Spintronics
FIELD: Physics
MENTOR: Luo Xuan, Principal Scientist, National Graphene Research and Development Center
(Springfield, Virginia)
Jesse and Matthew's research has to do with developing new two-dimensional materials for spintronics
and spin gapless semiconductors. They believe that with these new materials, data storage can be
increased and existing silicon based technology can be improved.
“The best thing about STEM is the objectivity. There is no prejudice or bias
involved, since facts are facts.”
Jesse tutors at NHS, plays football, runs track, speaks two languages, has
taken eight advanced STEM courses, and can play the piano, violin and
trombone. He is senior editor for Teknos Science Magazine. His favorite
subject in school is physics, because it combines math with logic and
reasoning, and because it has many real life applications.
HOMETOWN: Rockville, MD
“I like how we can use simple ideas to create big changes in the word. STEM
really pushes the limits of human intellect, which is why it is so beautiful.”
Matthew speaks three languages, plays volleyball, runs cross country, and
can play the piano and saxophone. He also volunteers at a summer camp
and participates in his school’s math and physics team. He is a two-time
USA physics Olympiad semifinalist.
JASON LEE, Millburn High School, Millburn, NJ
ALLEN LEE, Millburn High School, Millburn, NJ
DAVID LU, Mills E. Godwin High School, Henrico, VA
PROJECT: Identification of Compounds to Overcome Carbapenemase-Related Multidrug Resistance in
FIELD: Biochemistry
MENTOR: Dave Durrant, Ph.D. candidate, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia)
In recent years, there has been a global call for a response to the looming threat of superbugs that are
becoming more and more resistant, almost invincible, and pose a serious threat to millions of lives.
Jason, Allen and David used computer virtual screening to identify potential compounds and tested
these compounds with imipenem to reverse the antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
HOMETOWN: Short Hills, NJ
“It amazes me how fast STEM subjects are developing right now. Every day,
there are new exciting innovations such as stem cells and promising materials
such as graphene.”
Jason tutors kids in math and science, plays tennis, speaks two languages, has
taken seven advanced STEM course, and is in the chess club.
HOMETOWN: Short Hills, NJ
“Math, science and technology have no limits. They are constantly evolving as
we learn more about them.”
Allen has taken four advanced STEM courses, plays tennis and golf, speaks two
languages, tutors in math and science, participates his school’s Public Forum
Debate, and plays the piano.
“Whether it is using computer science to solve biology problems or physics
concepts to answer environmental questions, inter-disciplinary research is
taking the world by storm and I'm excited to see what scientific discoveries will
come of it.”
David tutors and mentors younger students who are working on science
projects. He speaks three languages, plays the piano, is founder and president
of the Kid-Motion Foundation, and is on the robotics team.