Premier High School Biotech Scientists to Showcase Research at Leading Industry Conference

Top 15 BioGENEius Challenge Finalists to Compete in International BioGENEius Challenge

2014 BIO International Convention

WASHINGTON--()--Today, the Biotechnology Institute named the top 15 student finalists who will compete in the final stage of the 2014 International BioGENEius Challenge next week. "The BioGENEius Challenge encourages the younger generation, one that is increasingly civic minded, to find first-rate solutions to food, climate and health challenges. This competition nurtures the best, the most innovative and skilled student scientists," said Janelle Curtis, VP of Programs for the Biotechnology Institute, the organization overseeing the Challenge.

The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students – from across the world – that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. The Challenge provides young STEM innovators and entrepreneurs a venue to showcase their research, in addition to helping them build a long-term support system for converting their dreams into reality. The Challenge is one of the few international competitions to host participants at a leading industry conference, the 2014 BIO International Convention, offering the students unparalleled access to leading companies, scientists and innovators in biotechnology.

During the Convention, the students will present their innovative research. Among those who secured a final place include students who created a novel absorbent antimicrobial bandages and ointment for use on burns and wounds, an HIV test and a method for using biomarkers to track coronary heart disease.

Student finalists include:

  • Emily Wang, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, California
  • Shreya Ramayya, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates, California
  • Logan Collins, Fairview High School, Boulder, Colorado
  • Bansri Patel, Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, Delaware
  • Leila Abdelrahman, Coral Reef Senior High School, Miami, Florida
  • Kayla Evans, Douglas County High School, Douglasville, Georgia
  • Grace Niewijk, Oak Park and River Forest High School, City, Oak Park, Illinois
  • Triton Wolfe, Olathe North High School, Olathe, Kansas
  • Neil Davey, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Nathan Han, Boston Latin School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jarek Kwiecinski, Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science at UNM, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Daniel Ren, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina
  • Michael Duong, Methacton High School, Eagleville, Pennsylvania
  • Nicole Ticea, York House School, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Adriel Sumathipala, Broad Run High School, Ashburn, Virginia

Next week, the top four winners will be announced during a lunch at the 2014 BIO International Convention that will be keynoted by Sir Richard Branson. 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.

We are proud to sponsor a program that provides students who are interested in STEM education with an experience that enables them to share in the excitement of biotechnology and with the skills and knowledge that will help them succeed,” said Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Scientific Strategy and Policy for Johnson & Johnson.

"With their participation in the 2014 BIO International Convention, these outstanding life sciences students provide great inspiration to the industry and gain first-hand experience regarding the types of dynamic careers available in the biotechnology industry," said Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited. "Today's 15 finalists are truly inspirational in illustrating how groundbreaking biotechnology discoveries can improve our everyday lives."

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous Co-Lead Supporters of the Challenge are Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Support for the BioGENEius Challenge is also provided by International Supporter: Genentech; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, Alnylam, Pfizer, and Sangamo BioSciences.

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 Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

At Janssen 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 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


for the Biotechnology Institute
Gayle Kansagor, 703-489-1131

Release Summary

The Biotechnology Institute named the top 15 student finalists who will compete in the final stage of the 2014 International BioGENEius Challenge next week.


for the Biotechnology Institute
Gayle Kansagor, 703-489-1131