Byram Hills High School’s Joshua Freedman won the top prize and a $2,000 scholarship and Renner Kwittken finished fourth at the Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium last month.
The strong finish allows both seniors in the high school’s three-year Authentic Science Research Program to advance to the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico in late April.
At the regional competition held on March 27 and 28 at the University at Albany, Joshua and Renner were among the six finalists who competed by giving 12-minute presentations on their research. Joshua competed in the biomedical science category; Renner’s work was in the biochemistry category.
“I am very proud of them both,” said Stephanie Greenwald, Director of the Byram Hills Authentic Science Research Program. “They worked extremely hard at articulating complex scientific research so the public can understand the work they’re passionate about. It’s always nice to see more students in the science research program being recognized for their outstanding work.”
Joshua’s research focused on targeting nanoparticles for cancer diagnosis and treatment. His project involved creating a novel targeted anti-cancer nanoparticle that binds to a receptor only expressed in cancer. He found that his nanoparticle specifically bound to cancer cells in vitro. In the future, this could allow doctors to create sharper and more accurate images of tumors.
Renner’s work also involved nanoparticles. The goal of his research was to enhance the delivery of nanoparticles, small medicines that are less than the width of a strand of hair. He synthesized three novel nanoparticles and improved their delivery using a standard FDA-approved chemotherapy drug, cyclophosphamide. His results were found in mice models and could potentially work in clinical trials, moving nanoparticles into the forefront of anti-cancer therapy.
In New Mexico, Joshua will compete with an oral presentation. Renner will be a poster presenter.
Also in Albany, Byram Hills senior Emma Lucchino won third place as a poster presenter. She analyzed the relationship between the bacteria living in our gut and in our immune system.