Indian American wins third place in Regeneron Science Talent Search 2018

Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018—Benjy Firester (center), 18, of New York City, won first place and $250,000 in Regeneron Science Talent Search 2018, founded and produced by Society for Science & the Public. Isani Singh (left), 18, of Aurora, Colorado, was awarded third place and $150,000, and Natalia Orlovsky (right), 18, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, was awarded second place and $175,000. Photo Credit: Chris Ayers/Society for Science & the Public (PRNewsfoto/Society for Science & the Public)

NEW YORK – Indian American Isani Singh, 18, of Aurora, Colorado, won third place at the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2018 with $150,000 in hand for her work towards determining that women with Turner Syndrome (TS) do have some cells with two X chromosomes, according to a press release.

Since Singh knew that most embryos lacking the second X chromosome do not survive, she adapted a laboratory protocol to search for and find these normal cells in TS embryos as well as identify genes that are under expressed in TS.

This finding may help physicians and patients better prepare for the variable medical complications of TS.

Natalia Orlovsky, 18, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania came in second place with $175,000 for her examination of the response of lung epithelial cells to fluids used in vaping while Benjamin “Benjy” Firester, 18, of New York City won first place with $250,000 for his development of a mathematical model that uses disease data to predict how weather patterns could spread spores of the late blight fungus.

Other winners include:

  • Muhammad (Shahir) Rahman of Portland, Oregon, in fourth place with $100,000 for engineering an internet-enabled microwave oven capable of simultaneously heating different foods on the same plate to optimal temperatures without requiring user input.
  • David Wu of Potomac, Maryland, in fifth place with $90,000 for his project studying the patterns of sequential prime numbers.
  • Kyle Fridberg of Boulder, Colorado, in sixth place with $80,000, for his discovery of a new compound that may be useful in improving rechargeable battery technology.
  • Vinjai Vale of Exeter, New Hampshire, in seventh place with $70,000 for creating a system that may improve the ability of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to understand complex scenes.
  • Skyler Jones of Ossining, New York, in eighth place with $60,000 for her study of the crystal perovskite and identification of key properties of its atomic structure that make it a highly efficient semiconductor, despite its structural defects and low stability.
  • Syamantak Payra of Friendswood, Texas, in ninth place with $50,000 for his creation of a smart bionic leg brace that bends the knee automatically as the wearer walks.
  • Raley Schweinfurth of Portland, Oregon, in 10th place with $40,000 for her study of contamination levels following a 2013 incident of insecticide spraying in Oregon that killed more than 50,000 bees.

The remaining 30 finalists each received $25,000.

“The Regeneron Science Talent Search competitors are some of our country’s very best young scientists. We’re so excited to support the winners for their remarkable accomplishments, and are thrilled to see once again the amazing thinking that comes from a group of passionate, skilled young people bringing fresh perspectives to significant global problems,” said George D. Yancopoulos, a founding scientist, the president and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and a Science Talent Search winner of 1976.

“Being a winner in what was then the Westinghouse Science Talent Search changed my life, and inspired me to devote my life to science. We hope the same for this year’s competitors, and that people of all ages will look to them as role models and be similarly inspired to change the world through science,” he added.

Regeneron became only the third sponsor of the Science Talent Search last year, following Westinghouse and Intel.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search was founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public in 1942 and it is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Each year, approximately 1,800 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here