Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Girls take all in science meet

NEW YORK — Girls swept a prestigious high-school science competition for the first time Monday, winning top prizes of $100,000 scholarships for their work on potential tuberculosis cures and bone growth in zebrafish.
It was the first time girls had ever won the grand prizes in both the team and individual divisions of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Isha Jain, a senior at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa., won the individual prize for her biology project on bone growth in zebrafish fins.
Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff, seniors at John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, N.Y., won the top team prize for their research into tuberculosis treatments.
The entries were judged by a panel of scientists led by Joseph Taylor, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics and a professor emeritus at Princeton University.
Five other individuals and five teams also won scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
The Siemens competition was begun in 1998 to recognize America's best math and science students. Finalists were chosen at regional competitions. The contest has also been known as the Siemens Westinghouse Competition.
Jain, whose work has already been published in the journal Developmental Dynamics, said she chose to study zebrafish because they are a good animal model. "They're simple creatures, and if you amputate their fins, they regenerate," she said.
She said her research should lead to understanding bone growth in other vertebrates along with bone disorders in humans.
Schlossberger and Marinoff said their research could lead to more effective treatments for drug-resistant tuberculosis.

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