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Johnny Li Named 2011 Intel Science Talent Search Finalist

28 January 2011 admin 3,735 views One Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

On Wednesday, St. Margaret’s senior Johnny Li was named one of 40 high school seniors from across the U.S. selected as a finalist in the country’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search. All 40 finalists will gather in Washington, D.C. from March 10-15 to compete for $630,000 in awards. The top winner will receive $100,000 from the Intel Foundation.

In addition to being named a finalist for his project titled, “Effects of Cell Compressibility, Motility and Contact Inhibition on the Growth of Tumor Cell Clusters,” Johnny was awarded a $7,500 scholarship and an all expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete for top prizes. Johnny’s project is the first to study tumor cells’ motion (motility) and the way they behave when surrounded by other cells (contact inhibition) using mathematical modeling and computer simulation. He questions the effectiveness of chemotherapy, which kills many healthy cells at the same time as it destroys cancerous cells, leaving a void that tumor cells are often able to fill faster, leading to the fast growth of the tumor. Johnny’s research could impact how cancer treatments are developed and applied.

“I hope my research can confirm more characteristics of viable cells and lead drug designers in a direction that targets these attributes,” said Johnny.

In Washington, D.C., Johnny, along with the rest of the finalists, will undergo a rigorous judging process, meet with national leaders, interact with leading scientists and display his research at the National Geographic Society. Top winners will be announced at a black-tie gala awards ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 15.

The Intel Science Talent Search 2011 finalists come from 15 states and represent 39 schools. For the first time ever, California has surpassed New York as the state with the highest number of young innovators in the competition.

Earlier this month, Intel named Johnny as one of 300 semifinalists, out of 1,744 total applicants, and awarded him a $1,000 scholarship. St. Margaret’s Upper School science department was also awarded $1,000.

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One Comment »

  • Carol Fecker said:

    I am so proud of Johnny. I was his fourth grade teacher and have been tracking his accomplishments for a long time….Congrats to you…..Johnny!!! I can’t wait to see what is in your future!!!