Google has long taken an active role in promoting scientific ingenuity and in encouraging young people around the world to get involved in scientific and technological endeavors. Google’s Science Fair is one of the best examples of both. 2011’s science fair has concluded, and the three winners all took on impressive scientific tasks that address major issues such as carcinogen intake and controlling asthma. Most impressive, the grand prize winner conducted research that made new discoveries about cancer cells. Her findings are likely to impact the way we view treatment of ovarian cancer.
Lauren Hodge, the 13 -14 age group winner, tested the impact of four different marinades on carcinogens – cancer-causing agents – found in grilled chicken. “The objective of this study was to determine whether specific marinade ingredients would inhibit PhIPformation,” read Lauren’s project page. Testing numerous ingredients and using a highly controlled scientific methodology, Lauren concluded, “brown sugar is a probable inhibitor; the salt water a certain inhibitor; the soy sauce results are inconclusive; the olive oil creates a probable increase in PhIP; and the lemon juice is a certain inhibitor.”
Naomi Shah, the 15 – 16 age group winner, examined four different air pollutants to find a model for how those specific pollutants impacted asthma. Using over a hundred test subjects, Naomi found that PM10 and TVOC levels had a visible impact for those with asthma while CO2 and CO did not. Her study has implications for medical remediation, improving personal treatments for those with asthma via indoor air quality, and could even impact our clean air laws.
Shree Bose, the 17 – 18 age group winner and winner of the grand prize, “discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.” More specifically, Shree tested the impact ofAMPK on cancer cells. Her conclusion: “This experimentation provides proof that AMPK plays a role in the development of resistance to cisplatin,” one of the most common drugs used in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Lauren and Naomi were awarded with $25,000 scholarships and internships at Google and LEGO, while Bree received a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic, and an internship at CERN.