.

Update: Port Jefferson Student Named Intel Semi-Finalist

Dr. Iwao Ojima and student Kent Ueno worked on a 'Design and Synthesis of Tumor-Targeting Drug Conjugates for Imaging Studies' project that landed Ueno as an Intel semi-finalist.

Courtesy of the Port Jefferson School District
Courtesy of the Port Jefferson School District

Kent Ueno has been named a semi-finalist in the national 2014 Intel Science Talent Search organization. Ueno was one of over 20 students being mentored by Stony Brook University. 

Ueno, who currently attends Earl. L Vandermeulen High School, has been working with Stony Brook's professor of Chemistry Dr. Iwao Ojima on a Design and Synthesis of Tumor-Targeting Drug Conjugates for Imaging Studies. 

The Intel Science Talent Search is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. According to the organization, it has been hosting it's competition since 1942 to provide "a national stage for the country's best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists."

The research that both Ueno and Ojma have done have landed Ueno as one of 300 semi-finalist. Once named a semifinalist, Ueno is awarded $1000 as a scholarship and an additional $1,000 is given to his school to be used for educational purposes. 

Kent told the district that his project could be a huge step towards working on a solution to cancer. “My involvement with the project focused on the distribution and localization of biotin-bearing drug conjugates, which have not yet been defined,” said Kent. 

The Port Jefferson School District is proud to announce that Earl L. Vandermeulen High School senior Kent Ueno has been named a semifinalist in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search competition. Kent, whose project focuses on the design and synthesis of tumor-targeting drug conjugates for imaging studies, is one of 300 semifinalists nationwide, 50 of whom are from Long Island. 

Kent’s journey to success began with the Stony Brook University 2013 Simons Summer Research Program, in which he participated for six weeks. The program, offered to high school students between their junior and senior years, provides participants with the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in science, math or engineering. Students work with faculty mentors at a research university and learn about laboratory techniques and tools while becoming part of active research teams.

“The district could nominate a maximum of three students for the Simons Research Program,” said Earl L. Vandermeulen High School Principal Dr. Matthew Murphy. “With his outstanding academics and potential, Kent was a clear choice.”

Shortly after his acceptance into the program, Kent met Stony Brook University Professor Dr. Iwao Ojima and began weeks of reading scientific articles, taking notes, performing background research and completing safety courses. Throughout this time, Kent also shadowed Stony Brook University graduate student Tao Wang who acted as a mentor, helping Kent become familiar with the laboratory setting to prepare him for hands-on involvement in experiments during the final few weeks of the program.

“My involvement with the project focused on the distribution and localization of biotin-bearing drug conjugates, which have not yet been defined,” said Kent. “Therefore, the aim of this research was to design and develop novel tumor-targeting drug conjugates with an imaging arm to track the distribution and localization of the conjugates.” Together, the team designed two novel tumor-targeting drug conjugates bearing biotin as the tumor-targeting moiety, a second-generation taxoid, SB-T-1214, as a highly potent anticancer drug, and two different imaging arms for PET and SPECT scans.

Kent submitted his summer’s work to the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science & the Public. Sponsored by the Intel Corporation, it is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Submissions are reviewed by three or more Ph.D. scientists, mathematicians or engineers in the subject area of the entry, with heavy importance placed on the research report. Judges also look for students who exhibit exceptional research skills, innovative thinking and a commitment to academics and the community.

“The Simons program and the Intel competition have both strengthened my interest in the field,” said Kent. “My participation in the Advanced Placement chemistry and biology courses at Earl L. Vandermeulen have provided me with a crucial foundation needed for this type of research.”

Kent also credits his success to the support he has received from his science teacher Michel Krivosta and Principal Dr. Matthew Murphy, both of whom assisted Kent in his application and acceptance into both initiatives. As a semifinalist, Kent will be awarded $1,000 with an additional $1,000 going to Earl L. Vandermeulen High School to support its STEM education program.

“This whole experience has been a tremendous learning process that has had a very large impact on my life,” said Kent to the district. “It is so fulfilling to be able to apply what I have learned to something that may one day help people with cancer.” 

Now, the wait is on. The Intel STS finalists will be announced on January 22 and will compete for additional awards in Washington, D.C. in March. 


Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »