High School Student from Pennsylvania Receives Top Honor at International BioGENEius Challenge: Students from California and Georgia named runners-up
Tuesday, June 04, 2019 12:00 AM

June 4, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Neil Deshmukh (11thGrade, Monrovian Academy, Bethlehem, PA) was named the grand prize winner of the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in biotechnology. Judged by industry and academic experts, Neil’s research on a low cost, scalable device and associated algorithms with diagnostic potential for multiple states stood out among the impressive research from his 15 fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Neil will return home with a cash prize of $7,500.

"Every year, we are incredibly impressed with all of the talented young people who compete in the BioGENEius Challenge. This year's winner, Neil Deshmukh, especially wowed us with his innovative thinking and spirit of tenacity, curiosity, and passion for humanity that leads to major breakthroughs in human health," said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson. "We are pleased to provide support to the Biotechnology Institute and the BioGENEius Challenge, and we hope to fuel young scientists like Neil and all of the BioGENEius participants by expanding our commitment to champion science through the Dr. Paul Janssen Project."

Ananya, Ganesh (11thGrade, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA) and Melanie Quan (10thGrade, Los Lomas HS, Walnut Creek, CA) were awarded highest honors for their research on the novel assessment of pulmonary function in early onset scoliosis and utilizing algal-based biofuel byproducts to create novel bioplastics respectively. 

The winner and runners-up were named during the keynote at the 2019 BIO International Convention, which featured Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. The International BioGENEius Challenge allows students the unique opportunity of attending the BIO International Convention, a leading biotechnology industry conference, which helps them gain valuable insights from leading biotech companies, scientists, leaders and innovators.

“We could not be more inspired by this year’s International BioGENEius Challenge winner and those receiving highest honors. They represent the next generation of innovative scientists working today on solving some of the most pressing global health, sustainability and environmental crises in the years to come,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of the Biotechnology Institute. “We are especially proud that young women of broad cultural and ethnic diversity represent more than 50% of our finalists historically – significant to our effort to advance women in STEM.”

Students were assessed on the quality of their research, presentation skills and the ability to handle challenging questions regarding their research, scientific knowledge and on the potential commercial and practical applications of their project.

The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous support of the Institute and its programs come from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

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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 www.biotechinstitute.org.