GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Local biotechnology leader MedImmune announced today that Seneca Valley High School student Yiwei Li has received the distinguished "MedImmune Advancing Science for Better Health" award for her ScienceMONTGOMERY project. The company sponsored the Montgomery County science fair, known as ScienceMONTGOMERY, for the fourth-consecutive year and presented the award to recognize the scientific work of a current Montgomery County high school junior or senior. On March 16 at Gaithersburg High School, MedImmune awarded Li for her project entitled "Discovering New Splicing Forms in von Willebrand Factor to Understand Clotting Diseases."
Li's project was judged as the best example of an individual project with biological relevance to the causes, treatment and prevention of human disease in the medicine and health category. The team of MedImmune judges reviewed individual projects in the fields of biochemistry, environmental sciences (life), medicine and health, microbiology and biological sciences. Criteria for evaluation included alignment with MedImmune's core values: an entrepreneurial spirit, high integrity, collaboration and a strong work ethic.
"Li's work stood out from the very impressive collection of projects that were submitted this year," said employee judge Toni Stiefel, director, internal communications and community relations at MedImmune, "We believed her presentation was well thought out, and her commitment to post-submission research was commendable. These attributes and a sense of drive set Li apart."
As part of the project submitted, Li was interested in von Willebrand disease (VWD) and understanding the application of alternative splicing in individuals. VWD is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot. Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a protein that helps bind platelets together to form blood clots, and was expected to have around 22 to 23 alternative splicing forms. With one splicing form already known, Li set out to discover some, if not most, of the remaining forms. "By examining splicing forms in VWF, I hoped to find and conduct research on those varying mRNA sequences in order to help patients with VWD and to further promote an understanding of the disease," said Li.
Li is continuing to conduct more experiments as part of her project and hopes to conclude, before her graduation in June 2008, whether or not adipose tissue exhibits an alternative splicing form. In the future, she intends to pursue a career in the medical field working with VWD patients and advancing this field of research. For her outstanding efforts, Li received a trophy, an award certificate, a gift card and an offer for a six-week paid internship at MedImmune.
"One of our primary objectives at MedImmune is to promote and advance health and science education," Stiefel said. "Our support of the Montgomery County Science Fair gives us an opportunity to invest in our local community and foster long-term development of students as they pursue careers in science." The Montgomery County Fair sponsorship is an example of MedImmune's commitment to support science and health education. The organization will sponsor four different science fairs across the country in areas where MedImmune has a large presence.
MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on cardiovascular/gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, oncology, infection, respiratory disease and inflammation. With approximately 3,000 employees worldwide and headquarters in Maryland, MedImmune is wholly owned by AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN). For more information, visit MedImmune's website at http://www.medimmune.com.
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