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Local student wins regional portion of prestigious science fair

The top prize at the Eastern regionals of a prestigious national science fair has been won by a high school student from St. John’s, as have the two followup prizes.

On Wednesday The Telegram brought you the story of six students from Holy Heart of Mary High-School who were selected to be a part of the Atlantic regionals for Sanofi Biogenius Canada (SBC) — a prestigious science competition for high school students that gives young people real-life experience in biotechnology research.

See Local students compete in prestigious science fair

Dina Shehata’s project, “Low-Cost Gel Models for Point of Care Ultrasound Training,” looked at a more affordable version of phantom ultrasound gels that mimic human tissue. They are used by health trainees to practice puncturing veins, drug delivery etc. They make for a great teaching tool, but one that can flat-line the pocketbook. Dina saw a torso replica made from such a gel that cost $26,000.

Each participant gets coupled with a mentor. In Dina’s case that person is Dr. Andrew Smith of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Second prize went to Alyssa Young for her project on less-damaging techniques in childhood cancer chemotherapy and third prize went to Grace King for her project on the use of partridgeberry extract in the treatment of breast cancer.

Both are also students of Holy Heart of Mary.

Dina will now go on to the SBC national fair in Ottawa on May 2 and 3 where the winner will earn a place at the 2016 International BioGENEius Challenge in San Francisco this June.

Dina also receives a cash prize of $2,000, a portion of which will go to Holy Heart of Mary High School.

Runners-up in this year’s SBC Atlantic regional competition were also awarded cash prizes ranging in value from $500 to $1,500.

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