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Teen Wins Siemens Competition with Nanotechnology Related Research

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Angela Zang.(Image Source: Siemens Foundation)

2011's highest science honor for high school students was awarded recently to biochemistry research on cancer stem cells the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, America’s premier science research competition for high school students. Administered by the College Board, the Siemens Competition is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, which supports science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Angela Zhang, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA, won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the individual category for using nanotechnology to eradicate cancer stem cells. In her project, "Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells," Angela aimed to design a targeted gold and iron oxide-based nanoparticle with the potential to eradicate cancer stem cells through a controlled delivery of the drug salinomycin to the site of the tumor. The multifunctional nanoparticle combines therapy and imaging into a single platform, with the gold and iron-oxide components allowing for both MRI and Photoacoustic imaging. Angela also won the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) Grand Award for medicine and health science in 2011 and 2010. She spent an estimated 1,000 hours on her research. “Angela created a nanoparticle that is like a Swiss army knife of cancer treatment,” said competition judge Dr. Tejal Desai, professor, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco. “She showed great creativity and initiative in designing a nanoparticle system that can be triggered to release drugs at the site of the tumor while also allowing for non-invasive imaging. Her work is an important step in developing new approaches to the therapeutic targeting of tumors via nanotechnology.”