Indiana High School Student Wins International BioGENEius Challenge

June 19, 2012 12:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
2012 BIO International Convention

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nathan Kondamuri, a junior from Munster High School in Dyer, Ind., has won the International BioGENEius Challenge, a competition for high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects. Fourteen students from the U.S., Canada and Western Australia competed in this year’s Challenge. Nathan will receive an award of $7,500.

Winners were announced today at the keynote luncheon at the 2012 BIO International Convention, the largest global event for the biotechnology industry.

Kondamuri’s project titled, “A Novel Porphyrin Based Solar Cell Combining Coordinated Metal Ion Substitution and Self-Assembly to Broaden the Absorption Spectrum to Efficiently Create Sustainable Electrical Energy” won him the Challenge.

Students were evaluated on the quality of their research and display, their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge, and the potential commercial applications of their research.

“The aim of the International BioGENEius Challenge is to engage, excite and educate students about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems,” said 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 Sanofi Pasteur we are committed to improving the lives of people today and tomorrow. This competition is essential to preparing young people to be the future innovators and life-savers of the world,” said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., vice president for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur.

“Biotechnology has enormous potential to address some of the most important problems facing our world, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Janssen is confident that, with bright, young, innovative scientists such as those we honor today entering the field, our progress will continue,” said Jay P. Siegel, M.D., chief biotechnology officer and head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “We are proud to support the BioGENEius Challenge.”

Other top winners were:

Second Place: Aishwarya Raja from Academy for Medical Science Technology in Ramsey, N.J., received a $5,000 award for her project titled, “Spicing Up the Caspase Pathways: Novel Targeted Curcumin-Loaded Nanoparticles for Alzheimer’s Treatment.”

Third Place: Rui Song from Walter Murray Collegiate Institute in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, received a $2,500 award for her project titled, “Mendel’s Lentils: Identification and Analysis of the Zero-Tannin Gene in Lentil.”

Fourth Place: Kevin Nguyen from Plano East Senior High School in Plano, Texas, received a $1,000 award for his project titled, “The Development of Novel Sutures that Store and Deliver Nitric Oxide for Wound Healing.”

Each remaining participant received an honorable mention award and $500.

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; and Janssen.

In addition to Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen, support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, BIO, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation and Sangamo BioSciences.

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

About Sanofi Pasteur

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company’s heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or

About Janssen

At Janssen we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world. For more information, please visit:

About the BIO International Convention

The BIO International Convention will highlight the latest trends and the newest opportunities for executives, investors, scientists, policy leaders, and media from around the world. Speakers at the sessions will share breakthroughs in medicine, diagnostics, the environment, energy production, business operations, financing, partnerships, policy issues and food and agriculture. The Convention also features the BIO Business Forum, a unique platform for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic research institutions, and investors from around the world to gather and discuss strategic opportunities. For registration, conference agenda and exhibitor information, visit 2012 BIO International Convention.



Environics Communications
Erica Hiar
Cell: 202-579-7605
Office: 202-296-2002


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