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BioGENEius Challenge: DBI helps promote science excellence

UDaily, Written By: Laura Crozier, March 9, 2011

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) hosted the first Delaware BioGENEius Challenge on Monday, March 7, in conjunction with the Sussex County Science Fair in Lewes.

The Challenge is a national and international science fair for high school-aged students focused on biotechnology research.

The Biotechnology Institute in Washington, D.C., where the national competition will be held in June, coordinates the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge. Each state is permitted to send up to three local Challenge winners to participate in the National Challenge.

For the 2011 Challenge, DBI partnered with the two local Delaware science fairs to pick from the best and brightest Delaware has to offer.

Sussex County results

The high school scientists who competed in the Sussex County Science Fair on March 7 represented Cape Henlopen High School, Indian River High School, Laurel High School and Sussex Central High School. The Challenge judges chose five finalists from a group of 20 outstanding biotechnology projects.

Those five finalists will compete with the New Castle County finalists for the three winners' spots.

Each student participant receives a Challenge tote bag and a certificate of participation. In addition, each finalist receives a medal and a $50 prize. Up to three winners will ultimately be chosen, and those winners will receive a plaque, an additional $50 prize and an all-expenses paid trip to the national competition in June.

The five winners from the Sussex County Science Fair are:

  • Kourtney Bastianelli for Effect of L. plantarum bacteriocins on E. coli growth;
  • Gopika Lakshmanan for Tumeric vs. Salmonella;
  • Bansri Patel for Degradation of tricolsan: the environmental toxin?;
  • Priyen Patel for The most effective filtration of pharmaceuticals; and
  • Sara Westhafer for Bloomin' algae.


New Castle County results

DBI also partnered with the New Castle County Science Expo, with students representing Charter School of Wilmington, Concord High School, St. Andrew's School and William Penn High School.

The winners from the New Castle County Science Expo are:

  • Achille Tenkiang for Powering the future: The effects of nitrate concentration on microbial fuel cells
  • Jessica Fedetz for Comparison of the amount of energy in different types of nuts (nutergy)
  • Jayesh Gupta for Disinfectant concentration vs. zone of inhibition
  • Ming-Hsi Chen for Juglone as a natural herbicide
  • Lucy Wang for The effect of blanching on the preservation of vitamin C in frozen peppers
  • Jaewoong Yoo for Silence: Environmental effects on the efficiency of VIGS in N. benthamiana
  • David Crane for Bacteria under casts on skin;
  • Timothy McAnany for E. coli in the White Clay Creek.


The New Castle County event was held March 10 at Delaware Technical and Community College's Stanton campus.