Canada’s youth bring real-life science innovations to life

TORONTO, ON, May 13, 2014 – After months of preparation, research and collaboration with top university mentors, an elite group of 10 young scientists from across the country will be in Ottawa May 22, 2014 competing for Canada’s ultimate student biotechnology science prizes in the 2014 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).

Over 4,700 high school and CEGEP students have participated in the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada” since its inception 21 years ago. The SBCC varies from other science competitions as students are given access to high quality lab equipment and are paired with mentors. For the last 21 years, the competition has been giving aspiring young scientists the chance to develop research that can lead them towards a career in science, making it a win for all of those involved.

The National SBCC Awards ceremony will be held on May 23, 2014, at 7pm EDT, at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre.

In total judges chose nine cutting-edge biotechnology research projects from the 126 projects that competed across Canada. Now in its 21th year, the SBCC gives young scientists access to university labs and academic mentors, encouraging the pursuit of future studies and careers in the country’s fast-growing biotechnology sector.

“Even after more than 20 years of the SBCC, I am simply astounded by the life-changing discoveries that these young students make, and the power of science,” said Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Limited, which originally founded the event. “Thanks to the collaboration between industry, government and academia, the SBCC fosters a culture of innovation in Canada, ultimately accelerating Canadian competitiveness and productivity. Programs like this are essential to shaping and cultivating the next generation of leaders.”

This year’s regional finalists:

Nicole Ticea, York House School, Vancouver, BC, “Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification System for Point-of-Care HIV Diagnosis”
Jessica Wickware, Harry Ainlay High School, Edmonton, AB, “Tumor Origami: A Three-Dimensional Visualization of Drug Resistance in Malignant Tumors”

Amy Wang & WenYu Ruan, Walter Murray Collegiate, Saskatoon, SK, “Identification of Leaf Rust Resistance in Wheat”
Ryan Wang, St. John’s Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, MB, “Identification and functional characterization of putative phosphorylation sites on scleraxis”

Varsha Jayasankar, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, St. Catharines, ON, “Identification of Novel Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Compounds in Curcuma Amada”

Anoop Manjunath, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, ON, “Image Processing Techniques for the Analysis of Ultrasound Stimulated Bubble Interactions with Fibrin Clots”

Amit Scheer, Colonel By Secondary School, Ottawa, ON, “Development of a Novel Quantum Dot-Aptamer Bioconjugate Targeted Cancer Therapy for Precision Nanomedicine Applications”

Julien Sénécal, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Montreal, QC, “Inhibition of HIV-1 Replication Cycle with the CRISPR/Cas9 System”
Mark Hewitt, Bishops College High School, St. John’s, NFLD, “Can Popular Acne Treatments Stimulate or Exacerbate Cancer Growth?”

The project finalists will bejudged on May 22, 2014 at the headquarters of the National Regional Council by a panel of pre-eminent Canadian scientists:

Dr. Julie Ducharme, General Manager, Human Health Therapeutics, National Research Council
Dr. Pierre Meulien, President, Genome Canada
Ms. Jessie McAlpine, SBCC Alumna, Student at University of Toronto
Dr. Jim Richards, Director, Better Vaccine High-Risk Population, Human Health Therapeutics, National Research Council
Dr. Robert Tsushima, Associate Dean, Research and Partnerships, Faculty of Science, York University
In addition to their regional competition winnings, Canada’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place national winners will receive $5,000, $4,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. A special $1,000 prize is awarded to the project deemed by the judges to have the greatest commercial value. The top single person project advances to the Sanofi-sponsored International BioGENEius Challenge to be held in San Diego, CA June 20-24, 2014, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention.

About the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)

The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is a national, biotechnology research competition that encourages high school and CEGEP students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology. Coordinated by Partners In Research, the initiative is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi Canada, the Ontario Government (Ministry of Research & Innovation), York University, the National Research Council Canada/Conseil national de recherches Canada (NRC-CNRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (CIHR-IRSC) and Genome Canada.

For more information, please visit www.sanofibiogeneiuschallenge.ca, follow us on Facebook or Twitter at https://twitter.com/@SBCCDBSC hashtag: #SBCC2014

About Sanofi

Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company’s heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.ca.

Anne Ramsay
Partners In Research
aramsay@pirweb.org
Tel: 519-433-7866 x 23