DENTON (UNT), Texas - Five students in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas were named semifinalists in the 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search. They are among 18 semifinalists from Texas schools.
The Regeneron Science Talent Search is one of the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competitions. Each year, 300 students are named semifinalists from more than 1,800 students who entered their original research projects in the competition. Each semifinalist receives a $2,000 award from the Regeneron Foundation, with an additional $2,000 going to each student's school. Forty finalists are named from the semifinalists and go on to compete for the top prize of $250,000.
The semifinalists are:
●Ashwin Kumar, second-year student from Irving. Kumar conducted research in the laboratory of Narendra Dahotre, University Distinguished Research Professor in UNT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, on improving the longevity and performance of titanium medical implants.
●Abhishek Mohan, second-year student from Irving, who worked in the laboratory of Mohammed Omary, University Distinguished Research Professor in UNT’s Department of Chemistry. Mohan investigated targeted delivery of drugs used to treat cancer, using non-toxic silver nanoparticles.
●Tan Yan, second-year student from Coppell, who worked with Vijay Vaidyanathan, chair of UNT’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. Yan developed an efficient algorithm for mobile medical devices to detect electroencephalograms — irregular, seizure-indicating patterns in brain signals — and warn epilepsy patients of impending seizure episodes.
●Ted Zhao, second-year student from Arlington. Zhao worked with Douglas Root, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, on creating a peptide that destabilizes a protein that contributes to cardiomyopathies and resulting heart attacks.
●Sarah Zou, second-year student from Sugar Land. Zou worked with Wonbong Choi, professor of materials science and engineering, and Sheldon Shi, professor of mechanical and energy engineering, on increasing the energy-storage capabilities of supercapacitors, which capture and store energy at a faster rate than batteries and are used in backup power for consumer electronics and electric vehicles. She turned pecan shells into a supercapacitor electrode by an environmentally-benign process of self-activation that reduces the pecan shells to their carbon skeletons.
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.