Two Roslyn High School Students Honored in Siemens Research Competition

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Austin Lee (right) was named a Regional Finalist and Vincent Yao was named a Semifinalist in the 2017 Siemens Competition. Austin collaborated with two students from other high schools, while Vincent entered the competition independently. Both of their projects were related to cancer treatment. As a semifinalist, Vincent is awarded a $1,000 scholarship, while Austin and his two research partners will share a $6,000 award as finalists, with a chance to compete for $100,000 if they advance to the national competition. (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Rubin)

Roslyn High School Senior Austin Lee was named a Regional Finalist in the 2017 Siemens Competition. Austin worked with Caitlyn Chen of the Spence School and Alan Jian of Garden City on a project entitled Synthesis and Evaluation of Novel Anti-Cancer Maleic Anhydride Derivatives for the Treatment of Cancers. The team attempted to find the basis for a cost effective treatment for colon cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by synthesizing derivatives of a compound known as maleic anhydride. The team will now compete in the Regional Finals, which will be held virtually during the month of November. The team will split an award of $6000, and have a chance to share a $100,000 prize if they make it to the national competition.

“It is a huge honor to be named a Regional Finalist in such a competitive state with lots of talented researchers,” said Lee. “I had lots of people who helped me with the entire experience — my partners who co-authored our paper, my 11th grade Biology, Physics, and English teachers, my research mentor, and my parents —whom I’m all very thankful for. This past summer was definitely a summer well spent.”

In addition, Vincent Yao was named a Semifinalist in the competition. Yao entered independently with his project, The Novel Isolation and Structural Analysis of Hyperoside from Perilla Frutescens and its Therapeutic Molecular Mechanisms against Colorectal Adenocarcinoma. Perilla Frutescens is a plant used in traditional medicine. Through his project, Yao isolated and identified a part of the plant that was effective in fighting colorectal cancer. Each of the 300 Semifinalists nationwide are awarded a $1000 scholarship. Yao echoed Lee’s sentiments. “It is such an honor to be recognized for my scientific work. It goes to show that the hard work and long hours I spent at the local university’s lab for the past three years paid off in the long run.”

Over 1850 projects were submitted to the Siemens Competition this year. Projects can be submitted by an individual or teams of two or three students. There were 491 students named Semifinalists nationally including 56 from Long Island. Eleven of the 56, representing six projects, are moving on to the Regional Finals.

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