Hewlett High School seniors Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil and Allen Shin will share the $100,000 grand prize in the team category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology for their research in COP1, a key protein in plants and animals (click here to view the video of their presentation at the National Finals on Dec. 3, in Washington, D.C.)
Their project was entitled COP1 Arrests Photo morphogenesis in Dark Grown Gametophytes of Ceratopteris richardii; A Study of COP1 in Cryptogams.
"The students investigated COP1, a key protein that acts as a tumor suppressor in humans and controls light-dependent development in plants," said competition judge Dr. Hanjo Hellmann, assistant professor at the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University. "The team looked at a germinating fern and studied how it develops in the light and dark, showing for the first time that COP1 plays a role in its development. Understanding COP1's precise role in the cell may help in developing multiple applications in plants and animals in the future."
He added, "We were impressed by the enthusiasm of the students and by the fact that they carried out their research entirely with the resources available at their high school laboratory."
Jeremy is a member of the school newspaper and volleyball team, as well as student tutor. He would like to major in biology or chemistry and aspires to be a physician.
William is president of the leadership group, We are Future Leaders. He volunteers at the American Cancer Society and is a member of the varsity fencing team. He would like to become a biomedical researcher.
Allen plays volleyball for his school and participates in an annual mission trip to help residents of impoverished areas. He would like to become a doctor.
The team was mentored by Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, a biological research teacher at Hewlett High School. Dr. Bissondial is the recipient of a Siemens Foundation Founder's Award, which recognizes outstanding individuals for encouraging students to engage in STEM subjects.