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Student, 16, invents new drug cocktail to fight cystic fibrosis, wins Canadian biotech challenge
Date:5/10/2011

While many 16-year-olds are content with PlayStation, Toronto-area student Marshall Zhang used the Canadian SCINET supercomputing network to invent a new drug cocktail which could one day help treat cystic fibrosis.

The Grade 11 student at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill so impressed eight eminent scientists at the National Research Council of Canada laboratories in Ottawa they awarded him first prize today in the 2011 Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge.

Jonathan Khouzam, Simon Leclerc, Francis Marcogliese, all 19, of Montreal's CGEP Collge Jean-de-Brbeuf, won the 2nd place prize for finding a way to produce a great sorbet without geletin, potentially opening a large new vegetarian market for the popular frozen dessert. Geletin is derived from the skin and bones of animals.

First and second place winners receive $5,000 and $4,000 respectively. The trio from Montreal also won a special $1,000 prize for the project deemed by the judges to have the greatest commercial potential.

Marshall and the Montreal team will compete against US and Australian teams at the International BioGENEius Challenge in Washington, DC, June 27, held in conjunction with the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) Annual International Convention.

The other top prizes were collected by:

  • 3rd place ($3,000): Shannon Watson, 18, a Grade 12 student at Ottawa's Cantebury High School, who identified bacteria in a pro-biotic fermented milk product from Zambia that inhibit the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria;

  • 4th place ($2,000): Yasamin Mahjoub, 16, a Grade 11 student at Sir Winston Churchill High School, Calgary, who showed that hormones produced by pregnant women protect neurons from the effects of iron accumulation in the brain, suggesting a new line of inquiry into the causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis; and

  • 5th place ($1,000): Siyuan Cheng, 14, a Grade 9 student at
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
Bioscience Education Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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