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Searching for Talent

Prerak Thakkar, Staff Writer

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To showcase their projects and talent, the Regeneron Science Talent Top 40 Finalists from Jefferson, Kavya Kopparapu, Mihir Patel, and Franklyn Wang. attended the Regeneron Top 40 event in D.C. March 10-12. The three finalists were selected due to the projects they entered in Jefferson’s annual Science Fair.

Patel, who used Computer Vision to aid the process of obtaining limb measurements for lymphedema patients, drew inspiration from the experiences of his aunt, who has lymphedema.

It seemed ridiculous my aunt had to visit the doctor so frequently and waste so much time at the office for such a simple thing,” Patel said. “ I kept thinking about a better way of addressing this. About a week later, I came up with a method to get this volume estimation from photographs using certain computer algorithms.

Kopparapu designed a device called GlioVision after researching about cancer cells and realizing that there was currently no quick and efficient way to determine which cells had mutated.

It was devastating to read the statistics about brain cancer– that the prognosis for patients has not increased in the past 30 years despite advances in imaging and diagnostic techniques, as well as treatments,” Kopparapu said.

Wang’s project was math based and involved the use of monodromy groups of indecomposable rational function.

The finalists were invited to an event in Washington, DC, to showcase their projects.

As a finalist, I [was] in DC for a week-long event that [consisted] of questions and interviews on science knowledge and in-depth poster board presentation of my work,” Patel said.

I got to meet George Yancopoulos, the chief scientist at Regeneron,” Wang said. “I [also] won a prize of $25,000 in cash!”

The event culminated in a Gala Ceremony, where the finalists were able to meet scientists

“We got to meet some incredible people,” Kopparapu said. “[Including] scientists at the NIH and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, George Yancopoulos and Len Schleifer from Regeneron, [and] Malcolm Gladwell.”

“There was a black tie gala, where the CEO of Regeneron, Leonard Schleifer, made several interesting jokes,” Wang said. “Then, the author Malcolm Gladwell delivered a keynote address, where he continually reiterated the theme: ‘talent is not scarce’”

Patel was optimistic about event.

Especially in this day and age, there is so much access to resources and knowledge that research is available to almost everyone,” Patel said. “It’s really easy to go out there and make a genuine difference with research. We may be young, but our ideas can still push the boundaries of society’s knowledge and reshape our world.”

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Searching for Talent