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Georgia Bio Selects Student Finalists in Biotechnology Research

Wednesday, March 27, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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Atlanta, Georgia (March 27, 2013) – Georgia Bio has named two finalists and two runners up in the 2013 Georgia BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. Next up: The students will be granted insider access to the biotechnology industry through their attendance at the 2013 BIO International Convention in Chicago, the industry’s trade conference, where leading companies, scientists and innovators will offer them first-hand experience on what a dynamic career in the industry can encompass.
Finalists in the Georgia statewide competition include Aprotim Bhowmik, a junior at Parkview High School, Lilburn, Georgia, and Julia Abelsky, a senior at North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Receiving Honorable Mention were William Jin, a junior at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Sonam Brahmbhatt, a junior at Rockdale Magnet School, Conyers, Georgia.
The Georgia competition was organized by Georgia Bio, the state’s life science industry association in partnership with the Biotechnology Institute.  It was held on March 29, 2013 at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in Athens, Georgia, and included 23 students from all over the state. Judges were Matt H. Ackermann, Ph.D., Associate Director, Immunology Medical Science Liaisons, UCB, Inc.; Ralph L. Cordell, PhD, Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jill Goldstein Schulze, Assistant Dean, College of Science and Mathematics Assistant Professor of Biology, University of North Georgia; and Stefan Schulze, Associate Director, Georgia BioBusiness Center, University of Georgia.
While in Chicago, the winners will compete against students from across the country in the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge. If named a finalist, that person will go on to compete against a select number of students from the U.S., Canada and Australia in the International BioGENEius Challenge. Each stage of the competition will take place in Chicago during the 2013 BIO International Convention.
“At a time when the U.S. is struggling to engage students in the sciences, the BioGENEius Challenge has found a way to encourage those students who are excited about biotechnology to reach for the next level,” said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., Vice President for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur. “We are thrilled to participate in a program that cultivates young, innovative minds to address our global challenges in new ways.”
“Through the BioGENEius Challenge, students gain an appreciation for the fascinating aspects of scientific experimentation and the tremendous potential for biotechnology to continue to address some of the most pressing issues of our time,” added Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “It is our expectation that this program will draw bright young people into the endeavor of biotechnology and help accelerate the development of the next-generation of scientific leaders.”
The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education.  Generous Co-Lead Supporters of the Challenge include Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of leading global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Mr. Bhowmik’s project was entitled “Hemodynamic Interactions in Arterial Networks with Atherosclerosis”. In this research, a mathematical model was developed to simulate hemodynamic interactions in arterial networks with atherosclerosis. Based on the results of model simulation, Mr. Bhowmik developed a novel stent configuration and a 'flow regulator' to balance and regulate blood flow through arteries with atherosclerosis. The developed stent has the potential to reduce the required pressure gradient by over 50 percent. 
Ms. Abelsky’s project was entitled, “Invisibility Two Steps Closer: An Analysis of Diblock Copolymers and Gold Nanocomposites for Metamaterials”.  In her research, diblock copolymer metamaterial was engineered to have a negative index of refraction for the application to ultrasounds. The polymer selected, Polystyrene-poly (methylmethacrylate), was successfully engineered to operate in the microwave frequency range, radio wave range, under infrared waves, and part of the visible spectrum (up to 550 nm).
“Through their current and future research, both Mr. Bhowmik and Ms. Abelsky have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the world around us. Georgia Bio will be cheering them on at the 2013 BIO International Convention this April,” said Russell Allen, Georgia Bio, President and CEO.
The first place winner in the International competition will receive a $7,500 cash prize, the second place winner will receive $5,000, the third place winner will receive $2,500 and the fourth place winner will receive $1,000. 
In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, BioMarin and Sangamo BioSciences.
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About the Biotechnology Institute
The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit
About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or
About Janssen
At Janssen Research & Development, LLC, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world. For more information, please visit:
About Georgia Bio
Georgia Bio is the private, non-profit association that promotes the life sciences industry and university research in Georgia. Members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, research universities and institute, medical centers, government groups and other business organizations working to improve the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment.



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