Two Colorado high school seniors placed in the top 10 at the nation’s most prestigious science and math competition - the Regeneron Science Talent Search. The competition was held in Washington, D.C., March 8-14.
Isani Singh, 18, from Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village won third place. Kyle Fridberg, 17, from Fairview High School in Boulder, came in sixth.
Another Cherry Creek High School senior, 17-year-old Abilash Prabhakaran, placed in the top 40.
Singh, who received $150,000 for placing third place, identified the genes associated with Turner Syndrome – a rare genetic condition that affects women who have only one X chromosome.
In addition to finding the genes, Singh developed probes that can search for chromosome material in tissues. She said her findings will support additional research into advanced types of therapy, like protein replacement, for the syndrome.
“Now that we can look at tissue, we’ll be able to tell how many chromosomes are in each of those cells. That can kind of help with the unpredictable nature of Turner Syndrome,” she said.
Singh specifically picked Turner Syndrome because she doesn’t think it receives the same attention as higher profile conditions like cancer.
Fridberg, who won $80,000 , discovered a new compound called hydrogen ferric manganic sulfate, or HFMS. HFMS could be used to make safer, more cost-effective rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and as a possible water oxidation catalyst.
Fridberg loves chemistry because it’s hands on and he can conduct experiments. His discovery originated from a chance encounter with a rock while riding his bike.
“I ended up taking a sample (of the rock) back to my garage lab to do a chemical analysis,” he said. “Then in the chemical analysis I generated a new compound.”
The Science Talent Search awarded more than $1.8 million to finalists. Alumni of the competition have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes, National Medals of Science and other top math and science honors.