CHARLOTTETOWN, May 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Students from Vancouver and the Fraser Valley today earned new kudos as Manning Young Canadian Innovators after presenting their projects at the 51st Canada-Wide Science Fair held at the University of Prince Edward Island. Each student received gold medals in their respective research categories, as well as the $4,500 cash awards that accompany the kudos from the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation. They also received invitations to the national Manning Awards Innovation Awards gala this October in Ottawa.
Eric LeGresley, 15, a Grade 11 student at Abbotsford's St. John Brebeuf High School, zeroed in on ways to improve the screening process and development timing of potential new antiviral treatments as influenza viruses become more immune to the antivirals that are currently available. Employing computational chemistry, LeGresley developed an algorithm that would expedite the screening of antiviral candidates and predict, with a high certainty, how well the drug candidate will inhibit viral agents. His research demonstrated that a week of analysis using the algorithm could potentially save years of work that biochemists currently face, thereby expediting a larger number of good quality inhibitors to subsequent research phases of cell assays, animal trials and finally, clinical trials.
"One of the most pressing scientific issues of the day is the threat of another flu pandemic following the H1N1 flu in 2009. This threat is due to H5N1, which is resistant to all currently available antivirals," explained LeGresley, who won the Fraser Valley Regional Science Fair and brought his project to the nationals this week in PEI.
Gravitational hypothesis challenged in Neutron Star System
Carlos Xu, Grade 11 student at Vancouver's St. George's School brought to his first Canada-Wide Science Fair his mathematical models of the gravitomagnetic current, and field, inside a neutron star and challenged previous research that suggested gravitomagnetic fields (gravity that behaves like magnets) from companion stars will be repelled. It turns out that the field generates a current that induces another field in the same direction as the previous one such that the net effect is magnified attraction, not repulsion.
"This research exemplifies an efficient manner of solving a complicated general relativity problem through analogies with a known solution in another framework, namely electrodynamics. We exploit the similarities in the mathematical formalism in the two different fields, applying techniques of known solutions to unsolved problems," explained Carlos Xu.
The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation also recognized Fernie, BC student Jocelyn Tanton with a $500 Innovation Achievement award for her wheelchair bowling ramp design that enables a friend with Arthrogryposis, a rare debilitating disease that restricts body movement, to join her family in bowling excursions.
"There are many aspects of innovation, and even more benefits," said Foundation President David B. Mitchell. "Whether it's probing the goings-on of galaxies, finding ways to bring fast relief from threats to our health, or giving an enabling gift to a friend, the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation is pleased to salute and encourage the efforts and accomplishments of young Canadians," he said.
The three BC students were among the approximately 25,000 young Canadians in Grades 7 through 12 who earlier this year competed in regional science fairs across the country. Of these students, 500 Finalists gathered at the 2012 Canada-Wide Science Fair, the showcase event of Youth Science Canada.
The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation (www.manningawards.ca) introduced its Young Canadian Program in 1992 to recognize innovative Canada-Wide Science Fair projects. Each year a judging team selects eight winning projects, four of which earn $4,500 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Awards and four others earn $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Awards. The eight awards were presented today in Charlottetown at the science fair awards ceremony.
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