Painkiller and Lung Cancer Research Pays Off for California and Oregon Students With Siemens Competition Regional Win at

    Painkiller and Lung Cancer Research Pays Off for California and Oregon
  Students With Siemens Competition Regional Win at California Institute of

Young Scientists Gain Opportunity to Shine on National Stage

Raghav Tripathi of Portland Wins Top Individual Prize; Thomas Luh of San Jose,
California, and Joy Jin of Palo Alto, California Win Top Team Prize

PR Newswire

PASADENA, Calif., Nov. 10, 2012

PASADENA, Calif., Nov. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Months of dedication and hard
work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) paid off tonight for
three students named National Finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math,
Science & Technology, the nation's premier research competition for high
school students. Research on a promising "painless painkiller" earned top
honors and the $3,000 Individual scholarship for Raghav Tripathi of Portland,
Oregon. Research that could help improve the treatment and prevention of lung
cancer won the $6,000 Team scholarship for Thomas Luh of San Jose, California,
and Joy Jin of Palo Alto, California.

The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from
California Institute of Technology, host of the Region 1 Finals. They are now
invited to present their work on a national stage at the National Finals in
Washington, DC, December 1-4, 2012, where $500,000 in scholarships will be
awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. The Siemens Competition, a
signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College

"These students have invested time, energy and talent in tackling challenging
scientific research at a young age," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of
the Siemens Foundation. "The recognition they have won today demonstrates
that engagement in STEM is an investment well worth making."

The Winning Individual

Raghav Tripathi, a senior at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon, won the
individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for identifying a
potential anti-inflammatory drug that may reduce the unintended side-effects
and addiction associated with modern painkillers.

In his project, Design and Synthesis of Novel Fatty Acid Binding Protein
Inhibitors for Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects through Increases in
Endogenous Anandamide Concentrations, Raghav investigated a compound called
anandamide which is naturally released in the body to slow pain. By increasing
anandamide levels in the body, Raghav speculated he could potentially reduce
the side-effects of foreign medications.

"This project was amazing in scale," said competition judge Dr. Bil Clemons,
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Caltech Division of Chemistry and
Chemical Engineering. "The body of work that Raghav presented, computationally
identifying a molecule then making it followed by testing in the lab, is
something that an accomplished graduate researcher would be proud of. It is
very reasonable to say that his work could lead to new pain medications."

Raghav was inspired to tackle the subject of painkillers when his mother broke
her leg in a skiing accident and refused to take medication during her
recovery. Wondering why she refused medication, he investigated and discovered
that painkillers have countless unintended adverse effects. The irony of
relieving pain using medication that causes more pain motivated him to create
a new form of painkillers. Raghav founded and serves as president of the
Westview Pre-Medical Association – with over 150 members, the largest youth
pre-medical society in Oregon. Captain of the speech and debate team and a
Varsity tennis player, this high school senior aspires to be a practicing
neurologist. Raghav won first place best in category in cellular and
molecular biology at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering
Fair. He was mentored by Professor Iwao Ojima, Institute of Chemical Biology
and Drug Discover, Stony Brook University.

The Winning Team

Thomas Luh, a junior at Leland High School in San Jose, California, and Joy
Jin, a sophomore at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, won
the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for research that aims
to improve the treatment and prevention of lung cancer, the leading cause of
cancer deaths in the United States.

In their project,  Hedgehog-Gli Signaling Promotes Cell Proliferation and
Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Lung Cancer, the team discovered the
relationship between two proteins critical in the development and formation of
cancer. This allowed them to interfere with the metastasis process to better
understand it and possibly develop novel therapeutic strategies.

"Thomas and Joy have uncovered a potentially important mechanism of lung
cancer metastasis," said competition judge Dr. Jim Heath, Elizabeth W. Gilloon
Professor and Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology.
"Metastatic cancers are almost always deadly, and so it is hard to think of a
more important problem in oncology. Their work has the potential to lead to
new and effective therapies. They are a remarkably gifted team. "

Thomas was inspired to pursue his research by the loss of his grandfather,
great-aunt and uncle to various cancers. A junior, he is the founder and
president of his school's Science National Honor Society chapter and won
second place in the biochemistry/microbiology category at the Synopsys Silicon
Valley Science and Technology Championship. Thomas received a diploma in
piano performance from The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music at
the age of 14 and performs music competitively. He plans to study biology,
biochemistry, biophysics and pre-medicine towards a career as a healthcare

Joy took up competitive figure skating at the age of four and is a
record-holder for the youngest individual to qualify for the U.S. National
Figure Skating Championships, a feat she has accomplished four times. She was
a gold medalist in the 2012 U.S. National Figure Skating Solo Dance
Championships and is a recipient of the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Special
Achievement Award. Joy volunteers at the Vista Center for the Blind and
Visually Impaired. She is considering molecular biology, neuroscience, and
cancer biology as college majors and aspires to be a surgeon or oncological

The team was mentored by Dr. Hu Li, Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, UCSF Helen
Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Regional Finalists

The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. Regional
Finalists in the individual category were:

  oPaulomi Bhattacharya, Cupertino, California
  oRohan Chandra, Fremont, California
  oAshvin Swaminathan, Cupertino, California
  oEmily Tao, Placentia, California

Team Regional Finalists were:

  oArjun Balasingam and Namrata Balasingam, San Jose, California
  oZareen Choudhury, Sunnyvale, California, and Caroline Debs, Monte Sereno,
  oVivek Jayaram and Rachit Singh, Pullman, Washington
  oBrandon Kao, Placentia, California, and Tony Dong, Newbury Park,

The Siemens Competition
Launched in 1998, the Siemens Competition is the nation's premier science
research competition for high school students. 2,255 students registered to
enter the Siemens Competition this year for a total 1,504 projects submitted.
323 students were named semifinalists and 93 were named regional finalists,
representing 25 states. Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed
scientists at six leading research universities which host the regional
competitions: California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University,
Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin.

Follow us on the road to the Siemens Competition: Follow us on Twitter
@SFoundation (#SiemensComp) and like us on Facebook at SiemensFoundation.
Then visit at 9:30am EST on December 4 for a live
webcast of the National Finalist Awards Presentation.

The Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of
educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the
Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced
Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages
K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues.
By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and
schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's
scientists and engineers. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of
innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens'
U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information,

The College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that
connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the
College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the
membership association is made up of more than 6,000 of the world's leading
educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity
in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million
students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and
services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT^® and
the Advanced Placement Program^®. The organization also serves the education
community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and
schools. For further information, visit

SOURCE The Siemens Foundation

Contact: Kiesha Boykins, Siemens Foundation, +1-732-321-3150,, Joseph Giumarra, Momentum Communications Group,
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