Felicia Wang Advances to Philadelphia to Compete Against Top Students From Across the Nation and Canada
MdBio Foundation named Felicia Wang, an Ellicott City resident and junior at Centennial High School in Howard County, the winner of the 2015 Maryland BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. As the Maryland BioGENEius finalist, Wang will attend the 2015 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia, the industry’s trade conference, where she will engage with leading companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape in order to gain invaluable insights into an industry making significant contributions to the world.
“It’s always inspirational to see the incredible talent that is coming out of Maryland schools. These students represent the best and brightest in this arena, ” said Brian Gaines, CEO of the MdBio Foundation, Inc. “This year’s competition was no different. Our judges had a difficult time choosing from a high-quality set of submissions.”
Wang was selected as the Maryland winner based on her project, “A 3-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Vestibular Labyrinth,” which was designed to find a solution for those who suffer vestibular dysfunction, which effects parts of the inner ear and brain and results in problems with balance. Wang mapped the vestibular labyrinth to create a 3-D model that was anatomically and proportionally accurate. The model is intended to offer a foundation for further research and development into building a fully functioning vestibular prosthesis.
Runners up in the Maryland contest included, in second place, Kang Wook Chung, a sophomore at the Gilman School in Baltimore, for “Development of Highly Sensitive Biosensor for the Early Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer,” and Evan Whitehouse, a senior at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County, took third place for his project, “Investigating the Intrinsic Efficacy of Dopamine D1 Receptor Ligands for Functional Selectivity.” Both Chung and Whitehouse will have the opportunity to present their projects in the next round of competition, the US National BioGENEius Competition, in Philadelphia.
“Our mission is to give these student innovators an exciting and engaging environment to showcase their talents and help accelerate their development as the next-generation of scientists. The BioGENEius Challenges encourage students to apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues through biotechnology, allowing them to see the tremendous potential they have to make change in the world,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, president of Biotechnology Institute. “We bring students and industry leaders together to encourage the next generation of biotechnology innovators.”
Three first place winners in the categories of healthcare, sustainability and the environment will be named during a luncheon at the 2015 BIO International Convention, featuring Tom Brokaw. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize.