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Canadian Students Win Big At International Science Fair

Bright young minds shining on the global stage

intel science fair

microscopeCanada came out on top during the 54th Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), held this year in Portland, Oregon . Among the top winners were Arif Awan, of Montreal, Quebec and Hamza Bari, of St. Laurent, Quebec for their joint project, SARS: There is a Cure!

Since the 1950’s, The Intel ISEF has offered over 1,200 students from 38 countries the chance to compete for $3 million in prizes, scholarships, tuition grants, internships and field trips. The grade 11 students were selected as one of four winners of the Manning Young Canadian Innovators award, which offers a $4,500 cash prize.

Awan and Baran’s joint project investigates ways to design inhibitors (compounds or peptides – chains of protein) for the SARS virus, using computational structure-based techniques. Awan and Baran’s research concluded that two of the 10 compounds they selected as having potential as proficient inhibitors would be more potent and specific than the inhibitors currently used to control the SARS virus. The project also won a Gold Medal in the Senior Biotechnology Division at Intel ISEF, which offers a cash prize of $1,500, and two scholarships; a $10,000 grant to attend the University of Saskatchewan and a $2,000 entrance scholarship at the University of Western Ontario.

Nathaniel Ibey, grade 12, Parry Sound, Ontario and Blair Walker, grade 12, Beamsville, Ontario were also Senior Biotechnology Division Gold Winners for their joint project, Antifreeze Proteins: An Aid for Organism Survival, and Nimmy Thakolkaran, grade 12, Toronto, Ontario and Shirley Ho, grade 12, Toronto, Ontario, were named Manning Achievement Award Winners at the Fair for their project, Inducing Resistance in Peas against Mycosphaerella Pinodes.

Thakolkaran and Ho received the $500 award for their research into Mycosphaerella Pinodes, a virulent fungus strain that is the one of the causes of the most serious diseases affecting the field pea in Western Canada.

Hamza Bari
Hamza Bari (above) and Arif Awan like most
17 year olds enjoy hanging with their friends and playing
a good video game, but unlike some, in their spare time
they research cures for deadly infectious diseases!

Find out more about this science fair and others at Student Science.

Written by Lauren Bailey

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