Bay Area finalist makes international waves

High School student Revanth Kosaraju’s interest in science is fueled by his appetite for intellectual stimulation and challenge. Kosaraju, who will be a senior at Harker School in San Jose this fall, recently advanced to the International BioGENEius Challenge in June after becoming a finalist in the local and inaugural Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge and, several weeks later, in the National BioGENEius Challenge. He is the first Bay Area student to advance this far in the competition.

“I participated in the competition not only for the great opportunity to present my research, but also to see what other kind of research is being done in biotechnology,” said Kosaraju. He was one of 14 National Challenge finalists to advance to the International Challenge and showcase his research to a prestigious panel of expert biotech judges.

As a result of the generous sponsorship of Amgen, which underwrote the Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, Kosaraju and two other local finalists received an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the BioGENEius Challenges held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Annual International Convention. Students displayed their projects in front of approximately 20,000 convention participants of the June Convention.

Kosaraju’s winning project, titled “A Novel Perfusion-Based Protocol For Decellularization of Adipose Tissue on a Bioreactor”, sought to develop a novel perfusion-based protocol to decellularize adipose tissue on a bioreactor.

The two other Bay Area BioGENEiuses, Elliot Akama-Garren and Jennifer Chen, also competed in the National competition. Elliot’s project, titled “From Cancer to Autoimmune Disease: Selective Tyrosine Kinase Inhibition for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis,” identified a treatment to minimize infections for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer Chen’s project, titled “Massively Parallel DNA Sequencing-based Human Identification,” intended to reduce the backlog of forensic DNA samples that is impeding the criminal justice system.

(For links to these student’s abstracts, please click here.)

“As part of Amgen’s continuing support of science education, we are truly honored to have collaborated with BayBio in sending three remarkable students to compete in the BioGENEius Challenge,” states Terry Rosen, Amgen’s South San Francisco Site Head. “Elliott, Jennifer and Revanth clearly have bright futures ahead of them. I’d also like to extend a special congratulations to Revanth Kosaraju for representing the Bay Area so well in the International Challenge!”

Revanth is passionate about biomedical research and would like to pursue a career in biotechnology and medicine. He hopes to build his experience and resume by interning or working in a company next summer. Companies interested in hosting this outstanding student for an internship should contact BayBio Institute’s Lori Lindburg at lori@baybio.org or 650-871-7101×208.

The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. The BioGENEius Challenge promotes excellence and enables students to continue research in biotechnology and design an original independent research project. Students are evaluated on the quality of their research and display, as well as on their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge and potential commercial applications of their research.

The Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the BayBio Institute, with generous support from Amgen, and is held in conjunction with the BayBio Annual Conference. The National and International BioGENEius Challenges are organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Sanofi Pasteur and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. (J&JPRD), sponsor the National and International BioGENEius Challenges.

“Surveys continue to show that US students lag behind the rest of the world in math and science,” notes Damian Braga, President of Sanofi Pasteur US and Vice President, the Americas.

“Science-based corporations need to do all we can to encourage and support young students’ interest in the sciences, and this competition is one way to do that.”

“There continues to be immense potential in the future of the biotechnology industry,” says Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head, Global Regulatory Affairs, J&JPRD. “As a science-based organization, our goal is to nurture the biotech leaders of tomorrow.”

Sanofi Pasteur has supported the BioGENEius Challenge since its inception. In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and J&JPRD, additional support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Sponsors Genentech and Amgen and U.S. National Sponsors Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inspire Pharmaceuticals and Sangamo BioSciences.