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News & Press: VABIO News

Virginia Bio Names Broad Run High School Sophomore Virginia BioGENEius Finalist

Friday, April 29, 2016  
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The Virginia Bioscience Foundation, a program of Virginia Bio named Broad Run High School sophomore Marissa Sumathipala, of Ashburn, VA as the winner of the 2016 Virginia BioGENEius Challenge, co-hosted by MedImmune, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. As the Virginia’s BioGENEius finalist, Marissa will attend the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco, the industry’s trade conference, where she will engage with leading companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape in order to gain invaluable insights into an industry making significant contributions to the world.

While in San Francisco, Marissa will compete against students from the U.S., Canada and Germany in the International BioGENEius Challenge. The projects presented will represent a range of biotechnology topics such as healthcare, agriculture, and the environment. This is the second consecutive year that Marissa has won the Virginia BioGENEius Challenge. She was the 2015 winner and competed in the International BioGENEius Challenge last year in Philadelphia.

“The Challenge highlights the breakthroughs made when we invest and encourage our younger generations to pursue their ideas. These students are facing the world’s greatest problems head on and providing solutions to heal, feed, and fuel people and the environment,” said Virginia Bio CEO Jeff Gallagher. “The Virginia Bioscience Foundation is excited to cheer Marissa on in San Francisco at the 2016 BIO International Convention as we already know that her research has great potential to help society as well as inspire others to pursue research projects.”

“Our mission is to engage and excite student innovators by creating an environment that allows them to showcase their talents and help accelerate their development as the next-generation of scientists. The BioGENEius Challenges encourage students to apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues through biotechnology, allowing them to see the tremendous potential they have to make change in the world,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “We bring students, mentors and industry leaders together to promote excellence in scientific research from the best and brightest minds in the next generation of biotechnology innovators.”

Marissa’s project was selected because her research focuses on FOXO transcription factor proteins as a novel, effective drug target for cardiometabolic disease.

Winners will be announced during the Tuesday, June 7th keynote at the 2016 BIO International Convention. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize.


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