On Wednesday morning, January 4th, two Belmont Hill Sixth Form students were named Scholars in the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS): Jack Daley ’17 and Andrew Kaneb ’17.
Both students submitted their work as part of the school’s Advanced Science Research (ASR) elective, which provided academic framework for the research they did in area laboratories.
As part of ASR, students visit a local scientific research facility each week for 6-8 hours during both their junior and senior year, plus six weeks’ worth of continuous research in the summertime. The “Scholar” distinction places them among the top 300 entrants in the national science competition, which aims to both recognize outstanding high school scientific research and identify future scientific leaders. The STS culled through about 2000 applicants to produce the top 300 entries, each of whom receives a $2000 award – an award also matched to the school. On January 24th, the judges reveal the top 40 entrants, naming them Finalists in the competition. Each Finalist receives an additional financial award, along with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the final judging.
The Regeneron STS is recognized as among the most prestigious pre-college science competitions in the world. Counted among its alumni are many distinguished scientists, including Nobel Prize laureates and MacArthur Award winners. Since the STS began in 1942, there have only been five Belmont Hill students named as Scholars, including four from ASR in the past four years. Andrew and Jack were two of just eight Scholars named in the state of Massachusetts.
Jack’s research project, “Maturation of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Translocon Complex in Stem Cell Derived Beta Cells,” was conducted in Harvard University’s Melton Lab under the guidance of Dr. Rivera-Feliciano, a stem cell research scientist. Jack examined a means of optimizing synthetic beta cells, whose native type are normally found in the human pancreas, and help secrete insulin. Jack quantified several key proteins that comprise the translocon complex, which resides outside the membrane endoplasmic reticulum. Ultimately, Jack’s work could be applied in the treatment of Type I Diabetes.
Andrew’s research project, “Whole Exome and Whole Genome Sequencing of Central Neurocytoma,” took place in the Brastianos Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Brastianos and Dr. Batchelor, two prominent neuro-oncologists. Using relatively new sequencing techniques, Andrew helped identify key mutations that led to Central Neurocytoma in human patients, a sub-category of brain tumor. He compared mutations identified in individuals to a larger cohort, and has potentially identified a key mutation that might directly lead to the growth of Central Neurocytoma.
Both these students’ projects will continue through the spring, allowing them to produce research posters and to present over several opportunities. More significantly, each student has been listed as a co-author on a professionally published scientific research article--a remarkable accomplishment for high school students.
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