Governor Markell Recognizes Delaware Finalists in High School Biotechnology Research Competition

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Governor Jack Markell joined Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, to recognize three finalists from Delaware schools named to the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge. They will now advance to the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge on June 25, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

We have made supporting science, technology, engineering and math education a priority because of the subjects' critical role in the health and welfare of our economy and our citizens.

Governor Jack Markell joined Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, to recognize three finalists from Delaware schools named to the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge, a competition for high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects.

State competitions were held on March 7 at Sussex County Science Fair and March 10 at the New Castle County Science Expo. The finalists from Delaware include Priyen Patel, 16, of Sussex Technical High School and Achille Tenkiang, 15, and Jaewoong Yoo, 17, of The Charter School of Wilmington.

“Innovation is part of Delaware’s DNA,” Governor Markell said. “We have made supporting science, technology, engineering and math education a priority because of those subjects’ critical role in the health and welfare of our economy and our citizens. As a nation, we need to own molecular innovation this century as thoroughly as we led in mechanical innovation in the last. Priyen, Achille and Jaewoong are showing that we can.”

The three Delaware finalists will now advance to the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge on June 25, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Ten national finalists will have a chance to compete at the International BioGENEius Challenge competition, which will be held June 27, 2011 at the 2011 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Delaware Economic Development Office and the state’s biotechnology industry will be attending the convention. Winners of the competition will be announced at the June 28th keynote luncheon.

At the Local, U.S. National and International competitions, 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 judges were impressed with the enthusiasm for science demonstrated by all the students, but they were especially excited by the initiative and the accomplishments of these three individuals,” said Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. “From their work on bio-based fuel cells, to gene silencing in plants, to pharmaceuticals in our water supply, their results are a model of how science can transform our society in a positive way, and are strong examples of current world issues.”

The International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education, and sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group, a leading global pharmaceutical company, and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. (J&JPRD), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. The local Delaware competition is sponsored by AstraZeneca and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute faculty and staff.

“For more than 15 years, the aim of the International BioGENEius Challenge has been to engage, excite and educate students about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems,” says Tom Wiggans, Chairman of The Biotechnology Institute. “By highlighting the amazing research of these students, we hope to encourage other students to consider pursuing a career in biotechnology.”

At the BIO International Convention, judges will select the top four winners from 14 U.S. National, Western Australia, and Canada finalists. The first place winner of the BioGENEius Challenge will receive $7,500; second place will receive $5,000; third place will receive $2,500 and fourth place will receive $1,000. Each remaining participant will receive an honorable mention award and $500.

The International BioGENEius Challenge, which emerged from the Sanofi Pasteur (then called Connaught) BioGENEius Challenge, was launched at the first BIO International Convention in 1994. Today, the initiative has grown in both national and international prominence.

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov. Follow DEDO on Facebook or Twitter @DEDOgov.

About the Delaware Biotechnology Institute
The Delaware Biotechnology Institute is a partnership among government, academia and industry to help establish the First State as a center of excellence in biotechnology and the life sciences. The Institute mission is to facilitate a biotechnology network of people and facilities to enhance existing academic and private-sector research, catalyze unique cross-disciplinary research and education initiatives, and to foster the entrepreneurship that creates high-quality jobs.

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 http://www.biotechinstitute.org.

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