Atlantic Region’s Top Biotech Teens 2014

Sackville, NB – May 5, 2014 – Nineteen students in twelve teams squared off in this year’s Regional 2014 “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” on April 29, 2014. Each team presented their biotechnology research and life-changing discoveries, addressing issues ranging from cancer, obesity, Parkinson’s Disease, and diabetes to finding new sources of alternative energy. The competition was hosted at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick.

All of the student-researchers are deserving of recognition for their efforts, however five projects have been honoured as the regional winners.

First prize was awarded to Mark Hewitt, of Bishops College High School in St. John’s, Newfoundland, who studied whether compounds used in acne treatments stimulate or exacerbate cancer growth. After eight meticulous months in the lab, Hewitt’s research demonstrated that Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinoic Acid increased cellular proliferation and invasiveness in normal human cells, cells from a non-invasive cancer and cells from an invasive cancer.

Second prize went to Evan Langille, from Central Kings Rural High School, Centreville, Nova Scotia, who explored the possibilities of using chemical inhibitors to block the passage of Fructose from an individual’s small intestine to their bloodstream to fight obesity.

Third prize went to a team of students, Morgan King and Alexander King, from Montague Regional High School, Montague, PEI. Their project looked at developing a standardized cell toxicity assay for beta-Sitosterol Glucoside and other toxins to mimic the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

Fourth prize was awarded to Levi Burtt & Grayson Kenny, from Bathurst High School, Bathurst New Brunswick, for their project that looked at ways to use household methane waste as an alternative source of energy.

Fifth prize went to April Kennedy & Kiera Walsh, from Bishops College High School in St. John’s Newfoundland, for their project the role of Omega-3 fatty acids in treating diabetes.

The winner of this competition, Mark Hewitt, will enter the national competition held at the headquarters of the National Research Council in Ottawa, on May 22, 2014, followed by the SBCC National Awards Ceremony, co-presented with the Partners In Research National Awards, on May 23, 2014.

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.