Three exceptional high school students in the San Diego area have received the 2022 Scripps Research Young Scientist Award. The prize celebrates their success on a research project in the biological sciences, reflecting their critical thinking, creativity and persistence.
The projects, which were presented at the Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair, were selected by a research panel consisting of four Scripps Research scientists from different disciplines. The winning students were presented with their awards on campus at the closing symposium for the Scripps Research Translational Institute’s High School Summer Research Experience on August 12.
Representing this year’s winners are:
Audrey Zeng, a senior at Del Norte High School. Zeng is advised by Juli Cheskaty and presented their work in the category of Biomedical/Health Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering entitled “Microscopy Imaging of Lipid Metabolic Changes in Drosophila Ovary During Aging.”
Chris Jung, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy. Jung is advised by Alex Siegel and presented their work in the category of Biomedical/Health Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering entitled “Structural Analysis and Pharmacodynamic Characterization of a Cyclic Diterpene from Lophogorgia Coral.”
Sarah Gao, a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy. Gao is also advised by Alex Siegel and presented their work in the category of Chemistry entitled “Towards Green Chemistry: Predicting Molecular Optical Properties and Aquatic Biotoxicity in silico.”
All three students thoroughly impressed the judges with their innovative projects, communication skills and their passion for scientific research.
“The caliber of young scientists entering the San Diego Science & Engineering Fair each year is astounding,” says Daniel Murin, PhD, a Scripps Research senior staff scientist and principal investigator who was part of the judging panel and helped launch the awards program in 2019. “We are really proud of our three winners this year and know they all have very bright futures ahead of them, either in biomedical research or otherwise.”
To commemorate their achievement, winners were each awarded a custom trophy and a check for $1,000, as well as a letter signed by Murin; Dawn Eastmond, PhD, director of Graduate Studies; and Philip Dawson, PhD, dean of the graduate school.
The awards are given in conjunction with the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences at Scripps Research, with the goal of supporting local science fair participation and encouraging young students with diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in science and medicine.