Ontario Newsroom

Premier McGuinty Recognizes Student Award Winners

Archived Backgrounder

Premier McGuinty Recognizes Student Award Winners

Office of the Premier

Premier Dalton McGuinty recognized students who competed in the 2005 Greater Toronto Sanofi-Aventis Biotech Challenge at the official opening of MaRS Discovery District.

Sanofi-Aventis Biotech Challenge

The Sanofi-Aventis Biotech Challenge is an annual student competition intended to raise awareness about the emerging field of biotechnology and its applications in a variety of areas from health care and agriculture. It began in Toronto in 1994 and now takes place in 13 centres across Canada.

A representative from each of the six winning teams that took part in the 2005 Greater Toronto competition brought their team's winning project to the opening of the MaRS Discovery District. The winning teams included:

1st Place Award
Team Rep: Jasmine Tsang
Team members: Jason Leung, Julie Yu, Derek Wong
Project title: Genetically Modifying a RuBisCO Activator
School: University of Toronto Schools
Project Abstract: The team was successful in genetically-modifying an enzyme called "activase" in Antarctic Hairgrass. The long-range goal of their research was to enhance the ability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

2nd Place Award
Team Rep: Michael Sorbara
Team members: Jennifer Centeno, Angela Jung, Matthew Sorbara, Tiffany Chan
Project title: Accelerating the wound healing process using various doses of growth factors (TGF-$1 and EGF) to regulate $-catenin elevation in fibroblasts.
School: St. Elizabeth Catholic High School
Project Abstract: The research demonstrated that increased concentrations of interleukin 1-alpha stimulate boosted the levels and effects of beta-catenin, a substance that enhances wound healing. The work was done using mouse cell lines but has the potential of leading to new therapies in humans.

3rd Place Award
Team Rep: Sana Mehrani
Team members: Colleen McKeown, Katrina Hui
Project Title: Exploring the Effects of Traditional Herbal Remedies for the Production of Insulin in Pancreatic Islet Cell
School: University of Toronto Schools
Project Abstract: The team researched the reported effects of some herbal remedies on insulin production by beta-cells. They found that extracts from Panax ginseng had no effect on cellular insulin levels. However, a substance in Ziziphus jujube caused enhanced secretion and exhibited anti-diabetic activity. Further research is needed to evaluate its potential as a drug ingredient for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

4th Place Award
Team Rep: Xue Liang
Team member: Katherine Sowden
Project Title: Effects of Ecdysone Agonists on the Expression of Ecdysone Receptors in the Fruit Fly as a Model for the Control of the Crane Fly, Tipula paludosa
School: Centennial Collegiate and Vocational Institute
Project Abstract: The team investigated an environmentally friendly insecticide that might be used against the European crane fly, a non-indigenous species that attacks lawns and gardens. Using the common fruit fly as the test subject, they tested several substances that trigger premature molting and death in insects and identified the most effective one for possible use against the crane fly.

5th Place Award
Team Rep: Evgenia Bloch
Team member: Adelle Vandersteen
Project Title: Light Up Your Lawn
School: Ontario Science Centre Science School
Project Abstract: The team inserted the gene for "luciferase", the enzyme responsible for the bioluminescence of fireflies, into a common plant in an attempt to produce plants that produce their own light. Low levels of light production were detected.

Greatest Commercial Potential
Team Rep: Jing Guo
Team members: Zarna Shah, Liuba Mamonova, Jessica Leen
Project title: Natural Sunscreen
School: Ontario Science Centre Science School
Project Abstract: The team produced an organic based sunscreen which, in controlled laboratory tests, proved to be equal to or better than the commercial products tested at blocking UV-B radiation. The active ingredients were pigment molecules, called flavonoids, that were extracted from apples.



Arts and Culture Children and Youth