President to Celebrate Winners of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Competitions

The 2011 Biotechnology Institute International BioGENEius Challenge winner will present at the White House Science Fair taking place this week in our nation’s capitol. Now in its second year, the Science Fair will celebrate winners of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competitions.

During the event, President Obama will view exhibits of 33 winning student projects, ranging from a robot that plays soccer to a smart toilet that conserves water to an innovative approach to treating cancer, and will deliver remarks congratulating these students on their desire to invent and discover. Prarthana Dalal, 2011 International BioGENEius Challenge 1stPlace Winner, and Priyen Patel, 2011 U.S. National BioGENEius Media Award Winner, will represent the Biotechnology Institute.

Prarthana Dalal, a freshman at Northwestern University from Leawood, Kan., will present her project, ”Modeling of human non-deletional hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin conditions in β-globin locus transgenic mouse models.” Prarthana’s project concentrated on hemoglobingenetics and how sequence changes can affect fetal hemoglobin production in mouse models, which can be used to understand treatment mechanisms for sickle cell disease. Also attending the event is Priyen Patel. Priyen, a junior at Sussex Technical High School in Seaford, Del., completed “Over-the Counter and In Your Water? The Most Effective Filtration of Pharmaceuticals.” Priyen’s project focused on filtering ibuprofen and acetaminophen using various water filters to determine the concentration of drugs in drinking water.

The White House Science Fair fulfills a commitment the President made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign in October 2010 which aims to move American students from the middle to the top-of-the-pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. The President has made STEM education a priority for his Administration – recognizing that a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math is key for laying the foundation for our future prosperity.

With the support of the Administration and leading life science companies, U.S. employment in the bioscience sector continues to see gains. The bioscience industry added 193,748 jobs from 2001 to 2008, a hefty growth rate of 15.8 percent. In 2008, the industry reached 1.42 million jobs, a gain of 19,000 from the previous year. The Battelle / BIO State Bioscience Initiatives 2010 contains the most recent data available and shows that publicly traded bioscience-related companies on the whole generated positive net growth through 2009. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the biosciences sector will grow at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent between 2008 and 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing industries.

The report compiles national, state and metropolitan data on bioscience employment and growth trends from 2001 to 2008, according to the latest detailed industry data to be released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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 Sanofi, a leading global pharmaceutical company, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson.

Additional support for BioGENEius is provided by Astellas Pharma U.S. and MedImmune which recently joined Genentech as International supporters and by U.S National supporters Acorda, Allergan Foundation and Sangamo Biosciences.