Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, this week, honored Ward Melville High School students Kelsey Ge, Maya Peña-Lobel, Megan Specht and Elizabeth Wang for being named “Scholars” in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search. In recognizing the four local honorees of this national competition, Legislator Hahn said:
“Today I am pleased to honor a group of intelligent young scientists from Ward Melville High School, Maya Pena-Lobel, Kelsey Ge, Megan Specht and Elizabeth Wang who were chosen as Semifinalist for the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Each of these researchers spent 100s of hours in the lab working with professors at Stony Brook University to compile data and craft a concise well developed research project. I just wanted to say a few things about each of these young women’s projects.
Maya Pena-Lobel conducted research on Atlantic silverside fish and the impacts of acidity and water temperature on the expression of genes. Ms. Pena-Lobel found that different patterns of effects were present on fish samples of different ages. Her conclusion was that ocean acidity and temperature can affect marine organisms at a molecular level.
Kelsey Ge studied the evolution of hurricanes and tropical cyclones and compared how these types of weather events have changes over the past four decades. Ms. Ge studied the intensity, heat, moisture and wind composition. This project showed how certain trends in hurricane and cyclone activity point to long-term environmental changes that are associated with climate change.
Megan Specht researched the use of micronutrients to treat colorectal cancer. Ms. Specht used vitamins B6, B9 and two types of vitamin E to see how these vitamins affected colon cancer cell growth in both Caucasian Americans and African Americans. Through her analysis Ms. Specht found that African Americans require a higher amount of micronutrient for the treatment of cancer and inferred that this could the reason for a 50% higher mortality rate of African Americans due to colorectal cancer. This research could be used to personalize cancer treatment in the future.
Elizabeth Wang studied how CBD, which is derived from the cannabis sativa plant and has no psychoactive effects, has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Ms. Wang studied the microglia, an immune cell of the brain which is involved in reducing epileptic activity. From her research Ms. Wang found that there is a relationship between CBD and the microglia activation.
WOW! These ladies have accomplished so much and should be extremely proud of their hard work on these research projects. I look forward to seeing your accomplishments in the future as our next generation of scientist and leaders.”