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'Inspiring' teens with 'research virus': Expert-mentored bioscience contest proves a powerful vector
Date:2/20/2013

, now 23 and a medical resident in pharmacology at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax: "SBCC was my first real introduction to what the world of science has to offer."

  • Taneille Johnson entered the regional SBCC competition in 2009 from Fort St. John (pop. 22,000) near the Alberta border in northern British Columbia. At 16, she lived alone for a summer to work with a University of Calgary mentor in a quest to decipher DNA mutations that may lie behind a rare disorder which causes early onset aging and progressive bone marrow failure.

    Taneille, the first student from northern BC to enter the regional event, won it in 2010 and placed third overall at the national finals in Ottawa. Now 20, she's a second year BSc student of immunology at McGill University, Montreal, with a goal of medical school studies at the University of British Columbia.

    "Not many first year university science students can approach their professor and show them the amount of lab experience I had from the SBCC," she says, adding "I really cannot overstate how unique the SBCC experience is for high school students."

  • A year after his first place national win in the 2011 SBCC, Toronto's Marshall Zhang faced a tough decision: offers from three of the world's most prestigious Ivy League universities -- Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

    "The SBCC changed the course of my life," says Marshall, now a Harvard freshman, who at age 16, and mentored at the Hospital for Sick Kids, used a powerful supercomputer cluster to create a potential new treatment for cystic fibrosis.

    On CBC's "The Nature of Things," host Dr. David Suzuki cited Marshall and his ideas as an example of the marvels of uninhibited teenage thinking. CF patients and their parents from across Canada and elsewhere wrote or called out of the blue to congratulate and thank Marshall for his efforts on their behalf. He was in Grade 11.

    "I'd never met a CF patient
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  • Contact: Terry Collins
    tc@tca.tc
    416-538-8712
    Bioscience Education Canada
    Source:Eurekalert

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