BayBio Names Henry M. Gunn High School Senior Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Finalist

Emily Wang Advances to San Diego to Compete Against Top Students From Across the Nation and Canada

BayBio today named Henry M. Gunn High School senior Emily Wang of Palo Alto as the winner of the 2014 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology.  As the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius finalist, Wang will gain insider access to the biotechnology industry by attending the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego, the industry’s trade conference, where leading companies, scientists and innovators will offer her invaluable advice and first-hand experience on the limitless possibilities within one of the world’s most innovative industries.

While in San Diego, Wang will compete against students from the U.S. and Canada in the International BioGENEius Challenge.  Folsom High School Junior Nathaniel Varghese placed second and Bellarmine College Preparatory sophomore Anin Sayana placed third.

Vinay Ayyappan (Bellarmine College Preparatory), Raghu Dhara (Mission San Jose School) and Gokul Kalyanasundaram (Homestead High School) received honorable mentions by the judges.

“The Challenge is a leading example of an educational experience that provides students with the biotechnology skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this field,” said Lori Lindburg, executive director of the BayBio Institute.  “This June, BayBio will be cheering on Emily Wang at the 2014 BIO International Convention as we already know that her current and future research has an opportunity to make a noteworthy contribution to the world.”

Through their generous sponsorship of the Challenge, Amgen, Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of leading global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, are taking an active role in changing and shaping the future of the biotechnology industry.

“Students are rapidly gaining interest in the sciences, and the BioGENEius Challenge has found a way to encourage those students who are excited about biotechnology to take the next step in their research,” said Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited.  “We are thrilled to participate in a program that cultivates young, innovative minds to address our global challenges in new ways.”

“Biotechnology offers an avenue to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. Through the BioGENEius Challenge students gain an appreciation for the fascinating aspects and tremendous potential of scientific experimentation,” added Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Scientific Strategy and Policy for Johnson & Johnson.  “It is our expectation that this program will draw bright young people into the endeavor of biotechnology and help accelerate the development of the next-generation of scientists.”

Wang’s project was selected because her research focuses on developing new fluorescent proteins used in the imaging of neural structures, the visualization of cancer metastases and the monitoring of signaling pathways.

As the first place winner of the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius challenge, Wang will receive a $2,000 prize and a trip to the International competition in San Diego. The first place winner in the International competition will receive a $7,500 cash prize, the second place winner will receive $5,000, the third place winner will receive $2,500 and the fourth place winner will receive $1,000.

In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporter: Genentech; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, Pfizer and Sangamo BioSciences. Amgen supports the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge.

Follow the BioGENEius Challenge: Throughout the challenge, @BiotechInstitut will be tweeting interviews, photos, and engaging with the biotechnology community by using the hashtag #BioGENEius.