Guest blog by Julien Sénécal

Originally posted on the CDRD blog, July 10, 2014

At CDRD, we value the importance of science education, outreach and promotion of young scientific innovation.  This year, we were proud to be national sponsors of the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).  Several of our scientists were pleased to have met with the participants and sat on the regional judging panel for the BC stage of the competition.  They were overwhelmed with the in-depth scientific knowledge that these young scientists displayed, as was our President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar when she met the National Finalists in Ottawa in May.  Julien Sénécal, one of the top-five finalists took the time to write about his experience of SBCC 2014, and why such initiatives are so important in nurturing young scientists.  Well done to Julien and all participants in this year’s competition.  We look forward to SBC 2015.  Enjoy!

By Julien Sénécal……

In the Fall of 2013, I was offered the opportunity to partake in the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, 2014 competition and to conduct my research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in the area of HIV.  Here is my story:

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Sanofi Biogenius Canada unveils new identity for a new generation of young scientists

LONDON, ONOct. 1, 2014 /CNW/ – As science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education takes a more prominent role in the classroom, Canada’s most prestigious competition for aspiring young scientists is kicking off its 22nd year with an exciting new redesign and slate of activities that will engage Canadians from coast to coast.

The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada has been re-branded as Sanofi Biogenius Canada, with a fresh new visual identity designed to inspire budding scientists and researchers, and engage all Canadians in the importance of their work. The term “Biogenius” celebrates the exceptional talent, ability and vision of the high school and CEGEP students who participate in the program, and highlights the breadth and depth of Canada’s scientific talent of tomorrow, from biotech and beyond.

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SBC Alumni: Q&A with Isabelle Labeca-Gordon

Isabelle Labeca-Gordon competed in the SBCC in 2013, during her grade 12 year of high school. She was mentored by Dr. Tony Mazzulli at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. In our interview, Isabelle highlights how the SBCC gave her a unique opportunity to pursue research in a university lab under the guidance of a mentor, an experience she says she couldn’t have had without the SBCC.

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SBC 2014 National Competitor Project Descriptions

First place & Commercialization Award
Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification System for Point-of-Care HIV Diagnosis

Nicole Ticea, Grade 10
York House School, Burnaby, BC

Approximately 34 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, including 2.3 million children. To date, there is no accurate point-of-care HIV test for neonates or acutely infected adults. Prompt diagnosis is vital for early initiation of anti-retroviral therapy, which can significantly suppress infection and improve survival rates. This project presents a rapid isothermal nucleic acid amplification system capable of performing point-of-care HIV diagnosis from crude samples.

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