High School Students from Canada & Arizona Receive Top Honors in BioGENEius Challenge

PHILADELPHIA--()--Winners of the annual International BioGENEius Challenge were announced today at the 2015 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia. Anvita Gupta (12th Grade, Scottsdale, Arizona) received top prize for the Global Healthcare Challenge and Han Jie Wang (11th Grade, Vancouver, British Columbia) for the Global Environment Challenge.

The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding innovation in biotechnology. Judged by industry and academic experts 28 finalists from across the US, Canada and Germany competed for top honors and cash prizes of $7,500 each. The newly expanded series is part of the Biotechnology Institute’s efforts to raise awareness and honor research excellence across medical, agricultural and industrial/environmental biotechnology disciplines.

“The BioGENEius Challenge highlights the breakthroughs made when we invest and encourage our younger generation to utilize their STEM education to pursue innovative research. It is amazing to see what these students are capable of when they apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues,” said Seema Kumar, VP Innovation, Global Health and Policy Communications at Johnson & Johnson. “We are proud to be the exclusive sponsor of the new BioGENEius Global Healthcare Challenge, which is helping to accelerate the development of the next-generation of scientists by giving students an exciting and engaging setting to showcase their talents.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is one of the few international competitions to host student participants at a leading industry conference, allowing them to gain valuable insights from companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the biotechnology landscape.

Anvita Gupta’s (BASIS Scottsdale) project in the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Global Healthcare Challenge (medical biotech), titled, Novel Therapeutics for Genetic and Infectious Diseases: Drug Discovery Targeting Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, seeks to create a new framework for drug research and discovery to help speed up and reduce the cost of therapeutic creation for diseases like Cancer, Tuberculosis and Ebola.

Han Jie Wang’s (David Thompson Secondary) project in the Global Environment Challenge (industrial & environmental biotech), titled, Identifying Genes with Roles in Power Output of Exoelectrogenic Bacteria in Microbial Fuel Cells, seeks to identify genes that help bacteria improve their ability to generate electricity in Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). The results of this research may eventually contribute to the commercialization of MFC technology.

“Each year, BioGENEius Challenge finalists continue to impress and inspire us with their research,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “They embody the present and future promise of biotechnology to help heal, feed and fuel the world.”

The student competitors were evaluated on the quality of their research, their presentations and ability to handle questions regarding their research and general scientific knowledge. Moreover, each student’s research was judged on the potential for its commercial and practical applications.

“These finalists are the future of the biotechnology industry. We are continually impressed by their commitment to solve complex problems,” said Sanofi Pasteur Senior VP for R&D John Shiver, PhD. “Their research is creating breakthroughs that will not only help society but also show young students what they are capable of accomplishing.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based non-profit organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous support from sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Sanofi Pasteur.

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.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC focuses on accelerating early-stage innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson Innovation includes local deal-making capabilities with the flexibility to adapt deal structures to match early-stage opportunities and establish novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information please visit: www.jnjinnovation.com

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 a broad 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: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.us


Biotechnology Institute
Alexia Sikora, 202-295-8788

Release Summary

Winners of the International BioGENEius Challenge were announced today at #BIO2015. Anvita Gupta (Arizona) won in Global Healthcare and Han Jie Wang (British Columbia) won in Global Environment.


Biotechnology Institute
Alexia Sikora, 202-295-8788