Multiple Awards go to PVHS Students at Science Fair

By Emma Jabbour and Alice Looney

   This past week, students from Ponte Vedra High School participated in the St. Johns County Secondary STEM Fair. Multiple contestants from PVHS, such as Emma Chirila, Jackson Wolfe, Emily Dorairaj, Andrew Lui, Alondra Alvarez, Chris Leveille, and Zach Janszen received awards for their projects.  

   Jackson Wolfe, a senior at PVHS, placed second in the Biomedical category. Jackson was proving pancreatic specificity of a gene promoter. The gene that he was trying to prove pancreatic specific was not proven specific in vitro (in a lab) but can be tried again in vivo (in life/ living organism) with a mouse by his lab. The biggest obstacle he faced was the repetition of having to go back and redo steps multiple times if they were not turning out the way he needed them to. He commented, “The biggest thing I learned from doing this project was the insane amount of detail and hard work that goes into research.” Wolfe conducted his experiment at Mayo Clinic and said, “if I had to go back and do this project again, I wouldn’t change anything about the learning experience or how things turned out.”  

   Emily Dorairaj, a junior at PVHS, placed third in the Microbiology category and will be advancing to States. Her project was about unraveling the link between the enzymatic and intracellular signaling properties of CD38. She found that there is a link between CD38’s enzymatic and intracellular functions. This is applicable to real life because it helps to understand the molecular processes through which CD38’s functions are in malignant B cells. Therefore, helping develop better therapeutics by understanding how cells rely on the CD38 and B cell receptor pathways. She stated, “The biggest thing I learned was that science is not always as cut and dry as you think, a lot of the time you will end up with results you did not expect.” If Dorairaj were to go back and do this experiment again she would have started much earlier, allowing her more time to work.  

WolfePVHSCloning of Human PRSS1 Promoter for Pancreatic Specific Gene Therapy2ndSenior Biomedical and Cellular/Molecular Biology
AlvarezPVHSTransforming Rapid-Cycling Brassica Rapa with Green Fluorescent Protein1stSenior Environmental/Plant Sciences
ChirilaPVHSAltering Metabolic Pathways to Override Drug Resistance in Cancer1stSenior Biomedical and Cellular/Molecular Biology
DorairajPVHSUnraveling the Link Between Enzymatic and Intercellular Signaling Properties of CD-38 in Malignant B Cells3rdSenior Biomedical and Cellular/Molecular Biology
JanszenPVHSEffect of Dual Biofertilizer symbiosis on relative nitrogen content of Phaseolus Vulgaris2ndSenior Environmental/Plant Sciences
LeveillePVHSTransforming Rapid-Cycling Brassica Rapa with Green Fluorescent Protein1stSenior Environmental/Plant Sciences
LiuPVHSDeveloping Anti-CLL-1 and MSLN Immunogens for CAR-T Cell Therapeutic Treatment of AML1stSenior Biomedical and Cellular/Molecular Biology


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