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CLSI Names Winner of Bay Area BioGENEius Student Biotechnology Competition

Melanie Quan Advances to Philadelphia to Compete Against Top Students from Across the Nation, Canada and Germany

Bay Area BioGENEius first-place winner, Melanie Quan (second from right) with (from left) Lori Lindburg, Saptarsi Haldar, and keynote speaker, Seema Kantak, ED of Bioetherapeutics, Exelixis

San Francisco, CA – April 15, 2019 California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) today named Las Lomas High School 10th grader Melanie Quan of Alamo, CA the winner of the 2019 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. CLSI is the non-profit partner of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), and supports the foundations of innovation – workforce development, STEM education and entrepreneurship – that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem.

Melanie Quan, 2019 Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge finalist.

As the Bay Area BioGENEius finalist, Ms. Quan will attend the 2019 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia, the industry’s trade conference, where she will engage with leading companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape to gain invaluable insights into an industry making significant contributions to the world. While in Philadelphia, Melanie will compete against students from the U.S., Canada and Germany in the International BioGENEius Challenge. The projects presented will represent a range of biotechnology topics such as healthcare, agriculture, and the environment.

Melanie’s project was selected because her research focuses on using waste products of algal biofuel production to create algae-based bioplastics that are compostable, water soluble, and work as a natural fertilizer.

Second place went to Notre Dame High School Junior, Shruti Sridhar, for her research on Investigating Genetic Mechanisms of the Tumor Endothelium Using scRNA-Seq Analytics and Developmental Trajectory Mapping; followed by third prize winner Shreya Garg, an 11th grader also from Notre Dame High School, for her work on the Determining the Roles of CuSB, Flagellin, and AcrAB-TolC in Bacterial Responses to Nonlethal Concentrations of AgNPs. Honorable Mentions included: Srinivas Balagopal (Grade 11, Pinewood School; Beatrice Mihalache (Grade 10, Los Gatos High School), and Shivek Narang (Grade 10, BASIS Independent High School). Honorable mentions went to: Srinivas Balagopoal (Grade 11, Pinewood School); Beatrice Mihalache (Grade 10, Los Gatos High School); and Shivek Narang (Grade 10, BASIS Independent High School).

The 2019 Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge finalists

“CLSI’s Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge shines a light on some of the Bay Area’s most remarkable high school student researchers.  The caliber of the student projects is so impressive and holds great promise for the discoveries of tomorrow that will address our globe’s most pressing challenges,” said Lori Lindburg, President & CEO, California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI). “CLSI is so proud to have Melanie represent us in Philadelphia at the 2019 BIO International Convention, only one stop on what I’m sure will be a very successful career in science.”

For the fourth year in a row, Amgen in South San Francisco hosted the signature competition. In addition to the judging of student poster presentations, CLSI’s Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge included a keynote address by Ms. Seema Kantak, Executive Director, Biotherapeutics at Exelixis, as well as a Career Panel, lunch with Amgen scientists and a poster viewing and reception with Amgen employees.

“Amgen is again pleased to partner with the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) to support the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge at our South San Francisco site and to celebrate the Bay Area’s outstanding student talent,” said Dr. Saptarsi Haldar, VP of Research, Amgen South San Francisco. “We extend our congratulations to all of the student finalists and look forward to following their continued success.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute. “Our mission is to engage and excite student innovators by creating an environment that allows them to showcase their talents and help accelerate their development as the next-generation of scientists. The BioGENEius Challenges encourage students to apply their scientific knowledge to solve some of society’s most pressing issues through biotechnology, allowing them to see the tremendous potential they have to make change in the world,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “We bring students, mentors and industry leaders together to promote excellence in scientific research from the best and brightest minds in the next generation of biotechnology innovators.”

Winners will be announced during the Tuesday, June 4th keynote at the 2019 BIO International Convention.

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

About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. With a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area, CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI serves as the west coast accelerator for CARB-X, the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to combatting antimicrobial resistance. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents California’s leading life sciences organization. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more at http://califesciencesinstitute.org.

 About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology.  Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems.  For more information, visit www.biotechinstitute.org.

Media Contact:
Will Zasadny
Director, Communications