Texas Students Win Regional Siemens Competition at The University of Texas at Austin for Research on Cancer Therapy and Vaccine

Texas Students Win Regional Siemens Competition at The University of Texas at
        Austin for Research on Cancer Therapy and Vaccine Development

High School Scientists Earn Top Prizes at Nation's Premier STEM Competition

Frederick Lang of Houston, Texas, Wins Top Individual Prize; Alyssa Chen and
Shriya Das both of Dallas, Texas, Win Top Team Prize

PR Newswire

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 9, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Months of dedication and hard work
in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (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. Frederick Lang of Houston, Texas earned the top honors and a
$3,000 individual scholarship for research on cancer therapeutics. Research on
vaccine development earned Alyssa Chen and Shriya Das, both of Dallas, Texas
the $6,000 team scholarship.

The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from
The University of Texas at Austin, host of the Region Two Finals. They are now
invited to present their work on a national stage at the National Finals in
Washington, D.C., December 7-10, 2013, 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 incredible students have invested significant time and energy to
advance research and exploration in critical fields," said David Etzwiler, CEO
of the Siemens Foundation. "I commend the Region Two winners for their
outstanding achievements and wish them luck in the next phase of the

The Winning Individual

Frederick Lang, a senior at St. John's School in Houston, Texas, won the
individual category and a $3,000 scholarship for his project, entitled Human
Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells as Biofactories for Exosomes Containing
Anti-Glioblastoma miRNA.

For his project, Frederick identified a potential new treatment for the most
malignant form of adult brain cancer. Using an innovative approach to
RNA-based therapy, he reprogrammed the body's own cells to reduce their
toxicity in the brain. His research demonstrates the ability to harness the
natural power of stem cells to create therapeutics that could eventually be
used to go after cancerous tumors.

"It's top-tier science. Frederick discovered what could be a very promising
new approach to treating cancer by making human cells transgenic," said
competition judges Dr. Janice Fischer, professor, and Dr. Blerta Xhemalce,
assistant professor, both in Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at
Austin. "He commands a breadth of knowledge in technique and tools that is
impressive for a high school student. The sophistication of the approach and
the science of his research could serve as a cornerstone publication in the

Inspired by his parents' work as physicians in a cancer center, Frederick
similarly is keen to pursue a profession in biomedical research, or as an
engineer allowing him to apply both math and science. He is a National Merit
Scholar Semifinalist, and a member of the Junior States of America club.
Additionally, he is captain of his school's varsity soccer team and a two-year
participant and "lead teacher" in the school's annual community service trip
to Costa Rica.

His mentor is Dr. Anwar Hossain, senior research scientist, MD Anderson Cancer
Center, Department of Neurosurgery.

The Winning Team

Alyssa Chen, a junior at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, and
Shriya Das, a junior at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, won the team
category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their project entitled,
Encapsulation of c-di-GMP Adjuvant into pH-tunable Micelle-based Nanoparticle
Heightens Immune Response.

In their research on vaccine development, Alyssa and Shriya merged the
disciplines of nanotechnology and immunology to develop adjuvants, molecules
that can boost immune responses. By encapsulating the adjuvant, the team was
able to increase its potency and facilitate its delivery directly into the
immune cell. The team's discovery could have the potential to develop more
vaccines for cancer and difficult-to-cure infectious diseases.

"Their innovative approach bridges two disparate disciplines that may one day
yield a new class of powerful vaccines for treating devastating human
diseases," said competition judge Dr. Ilya Finkelstein, assistant professor,
Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin. "The students'
command of their research project and the broader scientific aims is on par
with that of advanced graduate students. This work may one day stand on its
own as an important contribution to usher in a new era of vaccine

Alyssa is the secretary and three-time all-region member of the Highlander
String Orchestra and a Decathlete in the Academic Decathalon. Her deep-seated
interest in biology sparked her desire to become a gastroenterologist.

Shriya is heavily involved in the arts with key roles in her honors choir, the
school's annual musical, and Indian classical music and dance performances.
She also participates in her high school's robotics club and tutors in reading
and math. Shriya aspires to a career in medicine or technology.

The team's mentor is Dr. Jinming Gao, professor, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer
Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Regional Finalists

The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship.

Regional Finalists in the individual category were:

  oStacy Ho, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton, Texas
  oSilin Li, Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, Ala.
  oWilliam Ou, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton, Texas
  oPiper Reid, Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs, Texas

Team Regional Finalists were:

  oJia-Uei Chen, C. Leon King High School, Tampa, Fla.; Patrick Guo, Westwood
    High School, Austin, Texas; and Jessica Yu, Westwood High School, Austin,
  oAngeline Rao, William P. Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas; Vinciane
    Chen, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas; and Alexander Yang, William P.
    Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas
  oShaayaan Sayed, Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas; and Bassel Saleh,
    Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas
  oEvan Shegog, Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas; and Joshua Wang,
    Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas

The Siemens Competition
Launched in 1998, the Siemens Competition is the nation's premier science
research competition for high school students. A record 2,440 students
registered for this year's competition and a total of 1,599 projects were
submitted for consideration. Three hundred thirty-one students were named
Semifinalists and 100 were named Regional Finalists. Entries are judged at
the regional level by esteemed scientists at six leading research universities
that 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.

For news and announcements about the Regional Competitions and the National
Finals, follow us on Twitter @SFoundation (#SiemensComp) and like us on
Facebook at SiemensFoundation. A live webcast of the National Finalist Awards
Presentation will also be available online at 9:30am EST on December 10:

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, a STEM research competition
for high school students, Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a
sustainability challenge which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative
green solutions for environmental issues and the Siemens STEM Academy, a
national educator professional development program designed to support
educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in STEM fields. By
supporting outstanding students and educators today, and recognizing the
mentors and schools that inspire STEM educational 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. For further information, visit
www.siemens-foundation.org or follow @sfoundation.

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 The Siemens Foundation

Website: http://www.siemens-foundation.org
Contact: Kiesha Boykins, Siemens Foundation, 732-321-3150,
kiesha.boykins@siemens.com; or Megan Zaroda, Weber Shandwick, 212-445-8217,
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