(PHOENIX, Ariz.) June 27, 2013—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) presented five, first-place awards during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held May 12-17, 2013. AVMA member veterinarians Dr. Marlene Cole and Dr. Stephen Denny served as expert judges and presented the special awards at a ceremony held May 15 in Phoenix, Ariz.
“Many of the past winners of the AVMA sponsored Intel ISEF awards go on to become veterinarians, which is one of the reasons I value this contest so much,” Dr. Cole says. “All the research projects presented at the Intel fair are worthy of an award. These high school students are doing college-level research, so it’s truly a difficult decision. Their dedication, ambition and energy are inspirational.”
The five winners of the $1,000 prize include:
• Erika Nicole Mueller of Clearfield High School in Layton, Utah for her project “Optimal Equine Balance: Application of Biophysics to Assess and Reduce Equine Injury.” Mueller’s study explored a common fatality in sport horses resulting from the fractured second phalanx bone. Her research, using high-speed cinematography to capture and analyze the motion of the second and first phalanx bones, offers a new method of substantiating a horse’s predisposition to this injury.
• Eric Samuel Epstein of Tucson High Magnet School in Tucson, Ariz. for his study “Olfactory Discrimination Between Regular and Deuterated Compounds in European Honeybees (Apis melifera).” Epstein’s study explored the shape theory of olfaction, which holds that identically shaped odor molecules cannot be discriminated. In his study, he showed that European honeybees could be trained to discriminate between two identically shaped chemicals, suggesting that molecular vibration can be used as an additional or alternative mechanism in odor detection.
• Connor William Burton of Camdenlon R-III High School in Osage Beach, Mo. for his project “Jellyfish Phototaxis: Developing an Infrared Net for Application in Marine Systems for the Prevention of Jellyfish Fouling and Beach Infestations.” Burton examined if Scyphozoan jellyfish respond to both visible and infrared light. Results indicated that the jellyfish were significantly attracted to infrared light and had a significant tendency to migrate vertically to orient in visible light, which could someday be used to create an infrared “net” to deter jellyfish from sensitive areas and human interactions.
• Meghal Sheth of Camas High School in Camas, Wash. for her experiment “Using Zebrafish as a Model to Identify the Causes of Mechanosensory Hair Cell Death and Hearing Loss in Humans.” Sheth’s study, using zebrafish, found that Bisphenol A, a common monomer used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, may lead to hearing loss in humans.
• Charlotte Sophia Herber of Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y. for her study “Histological Evidence of Toll-Like Receptor Nine Amelioration of Amyloid Pathology in a TgSwDI Mouse Model,” which studied Alzheimer’s disease. This study developed an emerging method of passive immunization to prevent and break apart the amyloid plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease without adverse side effects.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world's largest international pre-college science competition. More than 1,500 students from 70 different countries in grades 9-12 shared their independent research, competing for more than $3 million in prizes.