Karen Li Named a 2020 Regeneron Scholar!

On 8 January, Wheatley Senior Karen Li was named a scholar in the 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search!

In 2017, Regeneron became only the third sponsor (after Westinghouse and Intel) of the Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. As part of its 10-year, $100 million commitment, Regeneron nearly doubled the overall award distribution to $3.1 million annually to better reward the best and brightest young minds. Founded and led by two Science Talent Search alumni, Regeneron recognizes and prioritizes the need to inspire more young people to engage in science.

The 300 Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars were selected from 1,993 applicants from 659 high schools in 49 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico and eight countries.  The scholars were selected based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists.

Karen’s project, “Probing the Interactions between Carbohydrates and Aromatic Amino Acids” provided insight into developing new (and improved) glucose sensors for individuals with diabetes.

Karen’s project summary is as follows:

Aromatic amino acids are particularly abundant in biological carbohydrate receptors due to their unique ability to form CH-π hydrogen bonds with carbohydrate molecules. This study attempts to determine the effects of the presence of carbohydrates on the self-assembly of aromatic amino acids, which can be visualized in fluorescence measurements and aggregation tests. It was determined that in some aromatic amino acid and peptide samples, the presence of carbohydrates affects the assembly of aggregates, especially at higher peptide concentrations. However, no clear trend could be developed concerning increasing carbohydrate concentrations and the self-assembling ability of aromatic amino acids as determined by fluorescence spectra. Further research using higher concentrations of aromatic amino acids or peptides can be studied to better model the relationship between carbohydrate concentration and the fluorescence of aromatic amino acids and peptides. Such data can be utilized to develop new glucose sensors for individuals with diabetes.

On January 22, 40 of the 300 scholars will be named Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists.

You can read Newsday’s coverage of Long Island’s scholars through this link: KLi_Regeneron_Newsday9Jan2020

Congratulations Karen! Thank you to Mr. Paulson (our Science Research Teacher) and Ms. Pace (our Director of Science) for their support of our Research Program (in general) and Karen (in particular).

2020-01-09 10.48.01

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