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Virginia Bio Names Broad Run High School Junior Virginia BioGENEius Finalist

Friday, April 28, 2017  
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Virginia Bio and the Virginia Bioscience Foundation today named Broad Run High School Junior, Marissa Sumathipala of Ashburn as the winner of the 2017 Virginia BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. As the Virginia BioGENEius finalist, Marissa will attend the 2017 BIO International Convention in San Diego, 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 Diego, 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.

“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 Jeff Gallagher, Virginia Bio CEO. “Virginia is excited to cheer Marissa on in San Diego at the 2017 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 Cardiometabolic disease, a cluster of correlated diseases which increases risk for heart disease. “I am incredibly grateful and excited for this wonderful opportunity. I will do my best to represent Virginia and make the most of this opportunity,” said Marissa.

Winners will be announced during the Tuesday, June 20th keynote at the 2017 BIO International Convention. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize.

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