Congratulations to Emily Cheng and Gerald Liu for Placing Second in the 2015 Siemens Research Competition
MHS students Emily Cheng and Gerald Liu, working with Kelly Jiang, a student at Connestoga High School; were awarded second place in the team category of the prestigious Siemens Research Competition.The students were awarded the honor for their research centered around early detection of colon-rectal cancer. All three students worked at the Pennsylvania Biotechnonogy Center located in Doylestown. (The students are pictured at left (L-R: Jiang, Liu, Cheng) with the $50,000 scholarship to be divided between them.Their project is entitled, "Simultaneous Detection of Genetic and Epigenetic DNA Modifications by Targeted Next Generation Sequencing for Cancer Screening – Assay and Data Analysis Software Development for the Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma."
The team developed a panel of genetic and epigenetic DNA markers for the early detection of liver cancer, creating software to analyze the data to create accurate and specific diagnoses that bypasses the pre-existing data analysis bottleneck in next generation sequencing. With their project, Emily, Kelly and Gerald look to one day develop a panel to effectively screen for cancer in the early stages and prevent it from becoming life threatening for the many people it affects around the world.
"Emily, Kelly and Gerald tackled an important and technically challenging problem and convincingly charted a path toward improved methods for early detection of cancer," said competition judge Dr. Stuart Licht, laboratory head in the Biochemistry and Bioanalytics group within the Oncology division of Sanofi. "This winning team showed an impressive level of skill, knowledge and sophistication."
Emily Cheng, a junior, is a member of the National Honors Society and serves as president of her school's French Club and Academic Decathlon Team. The inspiration for her team's project came as a result of one of Emily's close family friends being diagnosed with Stage Four liver cancer and ultimately passing away due to late detection. Emily's career aspiration is to become an obstetrician.
Kelly Jiang, a junior at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pa., was inspired to study this area of research while working in her lab and observing a lack of successful methods to ensure the early detection of colon and liver cancer accurately and efficiently. She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society, and also runs as part of her school's varsity cross country and track teams. Kelly aspires to be a pediatrician.
Gerald Liu, a junior, plays a vital role on the winning team with his background in bioinformatics and ability to efficiently analyze data. He was inspired to compete in the Siemens Competition while working alongside former finalists in the lab.
The team's mentor is Ying-Hsiu Su, Principal Scientist at Blumberg Institute.
Launched by the Siemens Foundation in 1999, the Siemens Competition is the flagship initiative of the Foundation and a symbol of our commitment to education in the United States. The nation’s premier competition in math, science and technology, the Siemens Competition promotes excellence in math, science and technology. High school students submit innovative individual and team research projects to regional and national levels of competition as they vie for college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000.The Siemens Competition honors the best and brightest students for their accomplishments in math and science – students who are changing the world for the better. The recognition of students participating in the Siemens Competition is tacit recognition that high expectations spur high achievement and that academic excellence is a community effort involving parents, teachers, schools and mentors.