Byram Hills High School (“BHHS”) senior Jared Ilan has been named a Regeneron Science Talent Search (“Regeneron STS”) finalist. Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Only 40 young scientists are selected as finalists.
Ilan’s project, “Modulus of Elasticity of the Ideal Decellularized Plant Material Scaffold for the Production of Cultured Meat,” focused on a potential, lab-based solution to meet the demand for affordable meat products with fewer environmental impacts than traditional production. Ilan joined BHHS’ three-year Authentic Science Research program as a sophomore with the goal of making an impact on an issue he cares about: climate change.
“After exploring many topics, I discovered that the livestock industry cannot support the world’s growing population and demand for meat, much less without having a detrimental effect on the environment,” explains Ilan. “After conducting an exhaustive search for a research mentor, I connected with a researcher from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (now at Boston College),
Dr. Glenn R. Gaudette, an expert in the field of tissue engineering, who worked with me in conducting a study focused on improving the process of producing cultured meat, also known as lab-grown meat.”
“Cultured meat has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate food insecurity by providing an alternate and affordable source of meat, and limit animal cruelty practices,” says Ilan. “The process of growing cultured meat is not yet scalable or cost-effective enough to affordably sell at a commercial level. This is largely due to the currently ineffective and expensive artificial scaffolds, or structures, on which the meat is grown. The idea to use decellularized plant materials, or plants with all their cells removed, as scaffolds, was first proposed by my mentor, Dr. Gaudette, as a scaffold for growing heart transplants due to their low cost, widespread availability, high biocompatibility, and strong vascular system. These characteristics are likewise suited for the large-scale production of cultured meat, and therefore my study was focused on identifying which decellularized plant type was most suited for the growth of cultured meat.”
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic halted Ilan’s plans to conduct research in his mentor’s university lab this past summer. Ilan showed great resilience in adapting and completing his study in his garage at home. His use of common household goods, namely dish soap, plastic bags, and chopsticks, instead of professional lab equipment, required much improvisation and engineering to execute a valid study.
“Science research was the most meaningful experience of my high school career,” says Ilan. “While incredibly rigorous, the program is one of Byram Hill’s crowning jewels. I was inspired by my older sister’s science research journey where she was able to conduct groundbreaking lymphatic research. I’m glad that I did it and I’m very grateful for the support of my science research teachers, my mentor Dr. Gaudette, and my family.”
Ilan is co-president of BHHS’ “eNable” club, where he designs and builds assistive devices for children with disabilities. He is also co-captain of the varsity cross-country team and plays varsity lacrosse. In his free time, he loves to ski. He plans to attend Cornell University in the fall.
The Regeneron STS Finals Week, where finalists will present their research to judging panels and participate in exclusive programming with distinguished scientists, will take place virtually from March 10 – 17, 2021. Finalists are awarded $25,000 and have the opportunity to win additional prizes of up to $250,000.
To read more about the talent search, go to www.societyforscience.org/press-release/finalists-in-regeneron-science-talent-search-2021
16 Byram Hills SENIORS HONORED
The following 16 Byram Hills seniors received special recognition at the 58th Annual Junior Science and Humanities Symposium on January 30, 2021. JSHS is designed to challenge and engage students (Grades 9-12) in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics by presenting their original research before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Regional presenters will participate at the 2021 Upstate New York JSHS and compete for a spot in the national symposium. Congratulations to the following Byram Hills students.
Kristen Eickelbeck – Physical Science | Olivia Canter – Biological Sciences
Luke Briody – Neurology/Genetics | Mia Dittrich – Neurology/Genetics | Ali Hafez – Engineering & Technology
Lily Deitelzweig – Neurology/Genetics
Raquel Kanner – Behavior | Lizzie Manowitz – Behavior | BaileyGoldstein – Biological Sciences
Jared Ilan – Math, Engineering & Technology | Chloe Weissman – Behavior | Gabriella Ripka – Behavio | Tessa Schwartz – Math, Engineering & Tech | Alexa Jindal – Medicine & Health
Griffen Nenner – Biological Science | Sophie Stumacher – Behavior