16 Year Old Area Student's Anti-Aging Compound Invention Takes Top Prize
'How Will You Change The World?' was Competition Theme
by Guelph Now! Local News
May 15, 2012
How One Girl Is Changing The World
Waterloo Region: A 16 year old Waterloo Collegiate student who invented a disease-fighting, anti-aging compound using nano-particles from trees, won top national honours today in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).
Her super anti-oxidant compound could one day help improve health and anti-aging products by neutralizing more of the harmful free-radicals found in the body. Her research is detailed below.
Janelle Tam, a Grade 12 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, was awarded the $5,000 first prize by an impressed panel of Canadian scientists assembled at the Ottawa headquarters of the National Research Council of Canada.
In all, some 13 students in Grades 11 or 12, all just 16 to 18 years old, took part in the national finals. They were top prize winners of nine regional SBCC competitions conducted nationwide in March and April, events that showcased youthful Canadian talent in the fast-growing field of biotech science.
The theme of the competition, "How will you change the world?" inspired hundreds of students to participate in 2012 SBCC events Canada-wide.
Other Top Prize Winners And Projects
2nd place ($4,000), was awarded to Rui Song, 16, a Grade 11 student from Walter Murray Collegiate, Saskatoon, for developing new insights into the potential creation of a more nutritious lentil (project profile: http://bit.ly/IrvD9I ). It is Rui's second major award at the national SBCC; she won first prize in 2010 when she was in Grade 9.
3rd place ($3,000): Alexander Tigert and Zelun (Daniel) Zhang, both 17, Grade 12, Northern Secondary School, who used genetically modified Baker's yeast to create a novel environment for testing the effects of drug treatments for depression and anxiety. Project profile: http://bit.ly/IjfNoa
4th place ($2,000): Ella Thomson, 16, Grade 11, Balmoral Hall School, Winnipeg, who genetically modified a common soil bacteria to produce 36% more volume of the bio-ingredient used to make eco-friendly plastic. Project profile: http://bit.ly/IAd0Vn
5th place ($1,000): Romina Hassanzadeh, 17, Grade 12, All Saints Catholic High School, Kanata, who puzzled out a new insight into the workings of a cancer-fighting drug, a discovery that could one day impact medical approaches to cancer treatment. Project profile: http://bit.ly/ICpjzR
A special $1,000 prize for the project deemed to have the greatest commercial potential was awarded to Miranda Wang, 18, and Jeanny Yao, 17, both Grade 12, Magee Secondary School, Vancouver, who identified soil bacteria from the Fraser River estuary that naturally break down phthalates, a fossil fuel-based additive found in some plastics. The girls have already identified firms in British Columbia and Ontario to propose ideas for potential commercialization.
MP Peter Braid met with 16-year-old Waterloo Collegiate Institute (WCI) student Janelle Tam, winner of the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Canada biotechnology research competition in Ottawa.
MP Braid congratulates Janelle on taking first prize in this prestigious national competition with her ground-breaking research on nanocrystalline cellulose. This disease-fighting, anti-aging compound has enormous potential in applications such as health creams and medications.
“It’s a pleasure to meet such a bright young scientist,” MP Braid said. “I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of Janelle’s achievements, and I’ll be rooting for her during the International Finals in June!”