Seniors recognized as Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics has once again achieved tremendous success in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition, with eight seniors named among the competition’s 300 scholars for 2022. 

The students were chosen for the quality of their research and potential as scientists, and were selected from 1,805 applications received from 603 high schools across 46 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and eight other countries. NCSSM’s eight scholars  is the second highest number from any one school in the competition.

Accompanying the recognition is a prize of $2,000 for each scholar, with their school also receiving $2,000 per scholar to inspire more young people to engage in science.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search competition is organized and managed by the Society for Science, a nonprofit “dedicated to expanding scientific literacy, effective STEM education, and scientific research.” The Society originated the competition in 1942, making it the oldest math and science competition in the nation and the most prestigious competition of its kind in the country.

In a press release, Society for Science CEO Maya Ajmera – who is a class of ’85 NCSSM alumna and member of the NCSSM Foundation Board of Directors – spoke of the scholars’ accomplishments under challenging circumstances.

“Amid an unprecedented and ongoing global health crisis, we are incredibly inspired to see such an extraordinary group of young leaders who are using the power of STEM to solve the world’s most intractable challenges,” she said. “The ingenuity and creativity that each one of these scholars possesses has shown just how much intellectual curiosity and passion can thrive, even in difficult times.”

Katherine Panebianco ’22, whose research in physics garnered recognition, noted the role the research program at NCSSM played in being named a Scholar. “It feels so great to be recognized for all my hard work after all the time that I spent on my project,” she said. “I’m really grateful for NCSSM’s research opportunities for helping me through the whole process.”

“Our research program has a long and impressive history of placing students on the competition’s scholars list,” says Amy Sheck, NCSSM’s Dean of Science. “For each of these students, however, it’s especially exciting. This national recognition is a truly unique and unforgettable moment, and I can’t be more happy for them or more proud of them and their mentors.”

Seven of the eight NCSSM students conducted their research at NCSSM or through an NCSSM-facilitated program, while one student conducted research independent of the school.

The Scholars now move to the next phase of the competition where 40 finalists will be announced on Jan. 20 to compete for more than $1.8 million in awards March 10-16.

NCSSM’s Regeneron Scholars, their mentors, and their project titles are:

Levi Cruz, mentored by Dr. Kimberly Monahan (Biology); Signaling Pathways During Wound Closure in Planarian Epithelium

Prabuddha Ghosh Dastidar, mentored by Dr. Kausik Chakrabarti, UNC-Charlotte (Biology); Pre-mRNA Splicing Inhibition as a Potential Pancreatic Cancer Treatment: An Innovative Approach by Identifying Vulnerabilities in Pancreatic Cancer Cells Using Biflavonoid Isoginkgetin and Pladienolide B

Dheepthi Mohanraj, mentored by Bob Gotwals (Chemistry); AutoFlow: A Novel Method for Assessing Minimal Residual Disease in Breast Cancer Patients by Identifying Bone Marrow Disseminated Tumor Cells Using Flow Cytometry Data

Katherine Mary Panebianco, mentored by Dr. Jonathan Bennett (Physics); Simulating Quantum Key Distribution in Three Polarization Bases

Hrishika Roychoudhury, mentored by Dr. Michael Bruno (Chemistry); Development of an Anticancer Agent by Green Synthesis of Biogenic Silver Nanoparticles Using Agri-Food Byproducts as a Novel Reducing Agent

Sophie Caroline Vaughan, mentored by Dr. Timothy Anglin (Chemistry); Turmeric-Derived Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease through Inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase and Butyrylcholinesterase

Lucia Wang, mentored by Dr. Robert Riehn, NC State University; Tertiary DNA Structure Probing Using Nanochannels

Winnie Wang, mentored by Timothy Anglin (Chemistry); Rational Design and Synthesis of a Novel Class of Boronic-Acid Containing Tubulin Inhibitors as Tumor Vascular Disrupting and Antiproliferative Agents

The full list of scholars can be viewed here.