Tumor Suppressor Protein And Brain Signaling Research Pays Off For New York
Students With Siemens Competition Regional Win At Carnegie Mellon University
Young Scientists Gain Opportunity to Shine on National Stage
Jiayi Peng of Chappaqua, New York, Wins Top Individual Prize; Jeremy Appelbaum
of Woodmere, New York, and William Gil and Allen Shin of Valley Stream, New
York, Win Top Team Prize
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 17, 2012
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Months of dedication and hard work
in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) paid off tonight
for four students named National Finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math,
Science & Technology, the nation's premier research competition. A biophysics
research project on brain signals earned top honors and the $3,000 Individual
scholarship for Jiayi Peng of Chappaqua, New York. Research on the tumor
suppressing protein COP-1 won the $6,000 Team scholarship for Jeremy Appelbaum
of Woodmere, New York, and William Gil and Allen Shin of Valley Stream, New
The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from
Carnegie Mellon University, host of the Region 4 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
Jiayi Peng, a senior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York, won
the individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for studying critical
avalanches of neural activity that are the physiological bases for actions,
thoughts and emotions.
Jiayi's project, A Cellular Automaton Model for Critical Dynamics in Neuronal
Networks, could help determine how distinct neurological mechanisms can
differentiate a healthy brain from one with a neurological disorder such as
epilepsy, autism or Alzheimer's disease.
"Jiayi's model utilizes a remarkably simply feedback mechanism that allows it
to reach and maintain a critical state," said competition judge Dr. Markus
Deserno, Associate Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University. "Since
critical avalanches are often missing from brains with disorders such as
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia, Jiayi's contribution also sheds
new light onto these neurological conditions. Someday, her work might help us
find a treatment for these ailments."
Jiayi is a National Merit Semifinalist and has received Moody's Math Challenge
National Honorable Mention and the US Navy and Marine Corps Science Award. A
pianist, Jiayi has won an award in the Golden Key Piano competition. Jiayi is
actively involved in community service. As a tenth grader, she founded
Kits4Kids, a club dedicated to raising money for children, especially girls,
to continue their education. Jiayi plans to major in physics or mathematics
and aspires to be a researcher or professor in one of these fields. She was
mentored by Dr. John M. Beggs, Associate Professor of Biophysics, Indiana
The Winning Team
Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil and Allen Shin, seniors at George W. Hewlett
High School in Hewlett, New York, won the team category and will share a
$6,000 scholarship for research that may help scientists better understand
COP-1, a protein that acts as a tumor suppressor in humans and controls
light-dependent development in plants.
In their project, COP1 Arrests Photomorphogenesis in Dark Grown Gametophytes
of Ceratopteris richardii; A Study of COP1 in Cryptogams, the team established
a new model system to research COP-1. Their research may provide a way to
more easily study the function of plant COP-1, further helping us understand
this multifunctional protein.
"An especially impressive aspect of this project is that it was conceived,
designed and carried out entirely with the resources available in the team's
high school laboratory," said competition judge Dr. Javier Lopez, Associate
Professor of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University. "Down the road,
the team's research may shed light on tumor suppressing proteins."
Jeremy is a member of his school's newspaper, volleyball team, and a student
tutor. He would like to major in biology or chemistry and aspires to be a
William is president of the leadership group, WAFL (We are Future Leaders).
He volunteers at the American Cancer Society and is a member of the varsity
fencing team. William would like to become a biomedical researcher.
Allen plays volleyball for his school and participates in an annual mission
trip to help residents of impoverished areas. Allen would like to become a
The team was mentored by Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, Biological Research
Teacher, George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, New York.
The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. Regional
Finalists in the individual category were:
oRanjeev Chabra, Syosset High School, Syosset, New York
oChristina Chen, Newton North High School, Newton, Massachusetts
oDavid Hamann, Yorktown High School, Yorktown Heights, New York
oPeijin Zhang, Lexington High School, Lexington, Massachusetts
oTeam Regional Finalists were:
oEvan Chernack, South Side High School, Rockville Centre, New York, and
Aneri Kinariwalla, Sayville High School, Sayville, New York
oVickram Gidwani, Horace Mann School, New York, New York, and Daniel
McQuaid, Ossining High School, Ossining, New York
oAnna Guo and Jasmine Lam, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College,
Brooklyn, New York
oShweta Iyer and Shilpa Iyer, Comsewogue High School, Port Jefferson
Station, New York
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 www.siemens-foundation.org 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 www.collegeboard.org.
Video and photos of winners available on request.
SOURCE Siemens Foundation
Contact: Kiesha Boykins, Siemens Foundation, +1-732-321-3150,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Joseph Giumarra, Momentum Communications Group,
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