BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sajeev Kohli (11th Grade, Waterloo, On, Canada) 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, Sajeev’s’s research on recruiting endogenous proteins for site-specific transport as a novel gene carrier design stood out among the impressive research from his 15 fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Sajeev 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, Sajeev Kohli, 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 Sajeev and all of the BioGENEius participants by expanding our commitment to champion science through the Dr. Paul Janssen Project."
Shloka Janapaty (10th Grade, California), Sriharshita Musunuri (12th Grade, Washington) and Tobias Stadelmann (12th Grade, Germany) were awarded highest honors for their research on a novel plastics remediation process, a point-of-care theranostic for gram-negative sepsis using nanoparticles, and using DNAzymes as molecular scissors to interrupt the PAD4 pathway in rheumatoid arthritis, respectively.
The winner and runners-up were named during the keynote at the 2018 BIO International Convention, which featured Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC News Good Morning America and best-selling author. 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 proud and inspired by this year’s International BioGENEius Challenge winner and those receiving highest honors. They represent the next generation of innovative scientists in the biotech world. The research they are working today on will help solve 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 applaud them for their forward-thinking projects and commitment to biotechnology research, and we look forward to seeing the breakthroughs they will be a part of in the near future.”
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.
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.