- Posted Monday December 5, 2005
Winners receive $100,000, ring Stock Market's closing bell
New York, NY, December 5, 2005-The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) today announced that two graduates of the Institute's summer internship program took the top prize at the nation's premier high school science competition, the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Anne Lee, a senior at Phoenix Country Day School in Paradise Valley, and Albert Shieh, a junior at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, won the $100,000 prize in the team category, which they will share equally, for developing new software that more accurately analyzes genetic data. In addition to the prize, the winners will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange today.
TGen summer interns Albert Shieh, a junior at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, and Anne Lee, a senior at Phoenix Country Day School in Paradise Valley, took first place in the team category at the 2005-2006 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The winners were announced this morning at New York University, host of the Siemens Westinghouse Competition National Finals.
"We worked really hard all summer on the project," said Shieh. "It was such an honor that our project was chosen." Lee agrees. "I am so excited. We couldn't have done this without TGen and our mentors there," she said.
The Siemens Westinghouse Competition was launched in 1998 to recognize America's best and brightest students in math, science and technology. This year, 1,684 students entered the competition, a 13% increase over the previous year.
"Anne and Albert have received one of the top honors for all science students," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, president and scientific director at TGen. "The fact that these outstanding young scientists are from Arizona and were mentored here at TGen is something we are all extremely proud of."
Lee and Shieh received the team prize for developing an improved software package that analyzes genetic data. The team developed their project, titled SNiPer: Improved SNP Genotype Calling for Affymetrix 10K GeneChip Microarray Data, under the mentorship of TGen's Drs. Dietrich Stephan, David Craig and Matt Huentelman.
"It is amazing to think of the accomplishments of these two high school students," said Dr. Craig. "Between the two of them, they have already published three major scientific articles."
The students' research was published in the October 31, 2005, issue of the genetics journal, BMC Genomics.
During their summer internship at TGen, the students identified an opportunity to improve on a commercially developed software package designed to analyze high volume genetic data. They developed improved genetic analysis software-which TGen now uses-that enables more accurate and efficient identification of the genes underlying inherited disorders in humans. The team then used their software to pinpoint a mutated gene that causes a childhood degenerative disorder.
"Anne and Albert's software tools will positively impact investigators worldwide," said Dr. Huentelman. "We could not be happier to see these young researchers win this prestigious competition."
The Siemens Westinghouse Competition finals were judged by a panel of prominent scientists and mathematicians headed by lead judge Dr. Constance Atwell, consultant and former Director for Extramural Research, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at The National Institutes of Health. Nineteen students competed in the National Finals, including six individuals and six teams. The national finalists previously competed in a series of regional competitions held at six leading research universities over three consecutive weekends in November.
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Amy Erickson-TGen (602) 343-8522
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research.
About The Siemens Foundation
Established in 1998, the Siemens Foundation provides nearly $2 million in college scholarships and awards each year for talented high school students in the United States. Based in Iselin, New Jersey, the Foundation's signature programs -- the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and the Siemens Teacher Scholarships -- recognize exceptional achievement in science, math and technology. 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. operating companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information, visit http://www.siemens-foundation.org