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The BioGENEius Challenge: Prarthana Dalal

February 7, 2012
By Prarthana Dalal, 2011 International BioGENEius Challenge 1st Place Winner

Project Title: Modeling of human non-deletional hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) conditions in β-globin locus transgenic mouse models: The -175 (T to C) and -195 (C to G) A-gamma globin gene point mutations

Project Description: My project was focused on hemoglobingenetics and how sequence changes can effect fetal hemoglobin production in mouse models, which can be used to understand treatment mechanisms for sickle cell disease.

My name is Prarthana Dalal and in 2011 I was the first place winner of the International BioGENEius Competition which took place in conjunction with the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C. Currently I am a freshman student at Northwestern University and I am in their seven-year B.A./M.D joint degree program called the Honors Program in Medical Education. I intend to obtain my bachelor’s degree in biology and then pursue a career in medicine and research. Because of my experience at BioGENEius and pursuing high school research I was accepted into a research-training program called the Northwestern University Bioscientist program and I have even begun work in a molecular biology lab on campus.

Throughout high school I participated in a number of science fair competitions but my experience with BioGENEius was unique because the competition was held alongside BIO, a major scientific conference where I was exposed to knowledge from both basic science and industry in a wide variety of biotechnology fields. As part of my experience at the competition I was able to present and discuss my research with my peers and biotechnology researchers. I was able to meet and talk with Senator Moran and Governor Brownback and I was also able to listen to Mr. Tony Blair give a wonderful keynote speech. My experience at BioGENEius was truly inspirational as it opened my eyes to the wide world of science, research and technology. Without my experience at BioGENEius I would not be as enthusiastic about research as I am today because I would not have realized its importance and scope. The four days I spent at BioGENEius were invaluable and I have made lasting friends because of it. As a young scientist I am deeply grateful to the many individuals who had made it possible and I sincerely encourage all students to apply for and pursue the many opportunities BioGENEius has to offer.