REGIONAL WINNERS

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Region 1

Stuyvesant High School - New York, NY
Region 1, 10-12, Styuvasant HS, NY
Caption: Duncan Kane (Toshiba), Vivian Cribb, Mark Winter, Milan Haiman, Taaseen Ali, Gabriel Ting (coach), Eric Contreras (Principal), Scott Thomas (Assist Principal Chemistry & Physics); Photo Credit: Andrew Cribb
Stuyvesant High School - New York, NY

Using carbon nanospheres to reduce decoherence in quantum computing systems

While modern computers have revolutionized scientific research, their bits can only have values of 1 or 0, leaving them incapable of solving problems involving guessing potential answers and checking them. Conversely, quantum computers utilize qubits that can have values of any superposition of 1 and 0 and can therefore perform multiple calculations simultaneously. However, quantum particles are susceptible to environmental interference, which causes errors. It has been shown that by utilizing carbon nanospheres with electron spin lifetimes longer than 100 nanoseconds, such interference could be eliminated (“Carbon nanospheres”, 2016). To find such carbon nanospheres, an experiment could be carried out in which nanospheres are synthesized from various molecules and their electron spin lifetimes measured. If carbon nanospheres with a sufficiently long electron spin lifetime are found, they could be used to make qubits with spin states stable enough to perform calculations without being corrupted by external interference.

Project website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/carbonnanospheres

Region 2

Biotechnology High School - Freehold, NJ
Michael Chin (Coach / Mentor), Arpan Sahoo, Darrel De Souza, Jonathan Shen, Paul Hickey (Toshiba)
Biotechnology High School - Freehold, NJ

Treating Fragile X Syndrome by Supplementing the FMRP Molecular Transport Pathway with mRNA-Transporting DNA Nanorobots

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder with no treatment. It is the most common cause of autism, causing intellectual and physical disabilities. Research has found that a mutation in the FMR1 gene causes FXS. It leads to deficiency of FMRP protein, which transports mRNA from soma to endfeet in radial glia. Without this transport, signaling at the endfeet is hampered, harming neurodevelopment. Our solution treats FXS by supplementing the FMRP transport pathway. We use a DNA nanostructure that incorporates a dual aptamer lock system and AND and OR gates. Tau protein, expressed in the soma, attaches to one aptamer, opening the nanostructure to capture mRNA for transport. Resulting structural changes make the nanostructure close and become chemically attracted to the endfeet. At the endfeet, MAP2 attaches and opens the nanostructure, releasing mRNA for translation. The cycle repeats, so our nanorobot can efficiently transport mRNA, treating FXS.

Project website: http://nanobotsforfxs.weebly.com/

Region 3

Our Lady Lourdes Academy - Miami, FL
Region 3, 10-12, Our Lady Lourdes Academy, Miami, FL
(Left to Right); Matt Barnes (Toshiba), Mary Alfano, Victoria Portal, Sophia Dopico, Sophia Torres, Helene Nameth (Coach)
Our Lady Lourdes Academy - Miami, FL

Blood Clot Detector

"Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability" (Impact of Stroke). A stoke occurs when a vessel in the brain ruptures or is blocked by a blood clot (Stoke Treatments, 2013). Blood clots can cause other complications such as the pregnancy complications and kidney failure (Ellis, 2016). The Blood Clot Detector is a machine placed in the left ventricle of the heart with two sensors attached, which are released once the machine is placed in the heart.  The sensors will be carried by the blood to all areas of the body and use echo waves to search for clots.  The data from the sensors will be sent to the machine in the heart via bluetooth and the machine processes the date and sends it to an app also through bluetooth.  This device will help to prevent strokes and other complications resulting from blood clots.

Project website: https://nstawebdirector.wixsite.com/bloodclotdetector

Region 4

W. L. Mackenzie C. I. - Toronto, ON
region 4, 10-12, W.L. Mackenzie C.I., Toronto, Ontario
Cindy Law (Coach), Anna Hwang, Phuong (Cindy) Nguyen, Julie Nguyen, Adrian Watson, David Hwang (Mentor), Marcia Diakun (School Principal), Cameron Parrack (Toshiba)
W. L. Mackenzie C. I. - Toronto, ON

The Purification of Water Using Genetically Modified Desulfobacteraceae

With safe drinking water becoming a rarer commodity in many areas around the world, the need for efficient and affordable water treatment is greater than ever before. Recently, scientists have discovered that a family of bacteria known as Desulfobacteraceae​ has the ability to remove toxic metal contaminants from small quantities of water. Currently, this anaerobe can only survive in areas of low oxygen levels, however further research and development could transform this bacteria into an effective solution for the provision of clean water to many across the world. The oxygen tolerance levels of Desulfobacteraceae could be enhanced by inserting specific genes into its DNA to allow it to produce enzymes that would reduce the harmful effect of oxygen on these anaerobes. Altering this bacteria genetically so that it survives in oxygenated environments for water filtration would provide a solution to the progressively worsening problem with contaminated water.

Project website: http://desulfobacteraceae.weebly.com/

Region 5

Energy Institute High School - Houston, TX
Region 5, 10-12, Energy HS, Houston, TX
Jason Spradley (Toshiba), Trisha Litong, Diana Prieto,Thor Preimesberger, Cheryl Johnson (Toshiba), Alicia Mein-Johnson (Coach)
Energy Institute High School - Houston, TX

Solving Heart Failure

Currently, heart failure (HF) has no cure and affects almost 6 million Americans annually. Myocardial  infarction (MI), more commonly known as a heart attack, causes heart failure by preventing oxygenated blood flow and killing cardiomyocytes, the muscle cells that cause the heart to pump. Because cardiomyocytes don’t replicate, this tissue damage is irreparable naturally and permanently impairs heart function. In order to restore normal heart functions to a patient post-MI, we propose this future technology : a three dimensional (3D) bioprinter capable of creating extracellular matrixes (ECM). The ECMs printed will then be grafted with stem cells that differentiate into the appropriate cell type. This will effectively allow us to create fully functional, transplantable organs.

Project website: http://dev.nsta.org/evwebs/3345c/

Region 6

West Salem High School - Salem, OR
Region 6, 10-12, West Salem, Salem, OR
Greg Brown (Toshiba), Victoria Moreland, Marcella Cross, Sophia Hawley, Alexa Montgomery, Emma Fagan, Michael Lambert (Coach)
West Salem High School - Salem, OR

qSafe: Power Cell of the Future

Recently, dangerous explosions  in  lithium-ion  batteries  have  put  many  lives  at  risk  and  caused  several   major   product   recalls   affecting   cell   phones,   airplanes,   hoverboards,   and   laptops. Researchers  and  technology  companies  worldwide  have  developed  solutions  that  are  often  impractical  and  fail  to  address  the  root  causes  of  the  explosions.  Our  qSafe  power  cell  uses  a system  of  surface  acoustic  waves  that  prevent  hazardous lithium  buildups,  which  cause  short circuits and  explosions  in  lithium-ion  batteries.  Furthermore,  advances  in  chemistry  will  allow  the  qSafe  power  cell  to  perform  with  increased  efficiency  through  the  application  of  quantum  nano-based  materials.  The  use  of  these  materials  also solves  ethical  issues  created  by  unsafe  conditions  in  mining  cobalt,  which  is  utilized  in  current  lithium-ion  battery  technology.  The qSafe power cell will be a quantum leap into safe, efficient, and ethical battery technology.

Project website: http://www.qsafepowercell.com/