DENTON (UNT), Texas — Four students at University of North Texas' Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science are among 101 high school students in the nation named regional finalists in the 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
TAMS tied with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, in having the most regional semifinalists in the nation. In addition, 15 TAMS students were named regional semifinalists in this year's competition, with TAMS having the second largest number of semifinalists.
Established in 1999 by the Siemens Foundation, the Siemens Competition is one of the nation's premier research competitions for high school-aged students, promoting excellence in math, science and technology. Students may enter either individual or team research projects.
The four regional semifinalists from TAMS are:
Abhishek Mohan of Irving, who worked in the laboratory of Mohammed Omary, UNT professor of physics, on "Identification of a Polymeric Silver(I)-Based Protein Corona-Based Biointerface for Versatile Delivery of Targeted Nanotherapeutics in Vitro."
Sahil Patel of Irving and Steven Sun of Katy, who both worked in the laboratory of Carlos Ordonez, UNT professor of physics, on "Design and Simulation of a Novel Concentric Cone Antihydrogen Gravity."
David Yue of Plano, who was part of a team with a student from St. Mark's School of Texas. The two students worked with John Ferraris, professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas, on "Innovative High-Performance Polymer-Blended Mixed-Matrix Membranes (PB-MMMs) with Heterogenous Triadic Compatibilizers — Small Organic Molecules, Metal Organic Frameworks, and Carbon Nanotubes — for Effective Gas Separation."
The TAMS regional finalists will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. They will present their research projects, via the Internet and webcam, before a panel of judges Nov. 11. The judges will select an individual winner to receive $3,000 and a team winner to receive $6,000 that will be split among all team members. Regional winners will be announced Nov. 13.
The regional winners will advance to the national competition, which will be held Dec. 4-5 at George Washington University in Washington D.C. National finalists are guaranteed a scholarship of at least $25,000, with the second-place individual and team winners receiving $50,000 and the first-place individual and team winners receiving $100,000.
The TAMS semifinalists for the 2017 Siemens competition, the titles of their research projects and the researchers at UNT and at other institutions who directed them in their projects are:
Soummitra Anand of Frisco, Aditya More of Coppell and Akshat Sharma of Irving — "Identification and Characterization of Novel Genes Linked to Inflammation-Driven Lung Tumorigenesis in M. musculus via a Tested, Lightweight RNA-Sequencing Aligner" with Rajeev Azad, UNT associate professor of biological sciences.
Maya Duffy of Austin and Matthew Li of Katy — "Fast and Accurate P-value Estimation by Fitting a Density Adaptive Distribution for Improved Computational Efficiency" with Xuexia (Helen) Wang, UNT associate professor of mathematics.
Emma Ingram of San Marcos — "A Novel Algorithm for Enhancing the Naïve Bayes Spam Filter through Text Modification Detection" with Wuxu Peng, professor of computer science at Texas State University.
Jeffrey Li of Frisco — "Synthesis and Characterization of a Novel Lithium Germanium Phosphate (LAGP) Solid-State Electrolyte" with Jincheng Du, UNT professor of materials science and engineering.
Yuqing Liu of Sugar Land — "Novel Investigation into the Effects of Time-Mediated Addition of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles on the Differentiation and Proliferation of Human Dental Pulp Stem Cells" with Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor of materials science and chemical engineering at Stony Brook University.
Aditya Paul of Plano — "Shark: Algorithm and Cryptanalysis of a Novel NLFSR-Based Stream Cipher" with Patricia Kite, biology teacher at Jasper High School in Plano.
William Qian of Frisco and Michael Shen of Plano — "A Nonstochastic Agent-based Approach to Modeling Viral Outbreaks Induced by University Contact Networks" with Armin Mikler, UNT professor of computer science and engineering.
Victor Song of Frisco — "A Novel Class of Accurate Statistical Methods for Classifying Circulating Tumor DNA" with Bruce Beutler, director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Katherine Xiong of Plano — "A Spatial and Climatic Simulation Model of Zika Virus Transmission Dynamics" with Armin Mikler.
Linda Yu of Houston — "Topological Characteristics of Graph Similarity" with Timothy Chase, lecturer in mathematics at Texas State University.
Sarah Zou of Sugar Land — "Self-Activated Pecan Shell for Supercapacitor Application'” with Sheldon Shi, UNT professor of mechanical and energy engineering.
UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science is the nation's first early college entrance residential program for gifted high school students. Mentored by faculty at UNT, TAMS students tackle complex, real-world problems, working on solutions and breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to energy consumption. It's an important pipeline for STEM education, nurturing the next generation of innovators, and is one of the many ways UNT advances science, engineering and technology.