Shivani Sud, 17, of Durham, North Carolina won the top award of a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation.
Shivani developed a model that analyzed the specific “molecular signatures” of tumors from patients with stage II colon cancer and then used this information to identify those at higher risk for tumor recurrence and proposed potentially effective drugs for treatment.
She used gene expression profiles to link multiple genetic events that characterize various tumor types and created her model using two public data sets containing 125 patient samples coupling it with clinical data to plot statistically significant survival curves, and used her model to identify drugs that may be effective in treating stage II colon cancer.
Shivani began her research years ago, in labs at Temple and Duke Universities and the National Institutes of Health. Her most recent project uses genetic information to predict recurrence in colon cancer patients who have been treated, and to identify the most effective drugs for those patients.
"It's in her heart to work on cancer," Anu Sud said of her daughter. "She really wants to find a cure for it."
Shivani became interested in cancer research as a child, when a family member was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
In addition to taking several national and international honors for science, she has participated in other work, such as volunteering at the Durham Rescue Mission homeless shelter and learning classical Indian dance.
Two years ago, Shivani was selected for the US Senate Youth Program, which earned her trip to Washington to learn about the federal government.
Eight Indo American high school seniors were among forty high school seniors named finalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search 2008. The competition, often called the junior Nobel Prize, is America's oldest and most prestigious high school science competition. Each finalist received at least $5,000 in scholarships and a new laptop.
The finalists displayed their research at the National Academy of Sciences and met in Washington, DC for a rigorous judging process, meetings and interactions with national leaders and leading scientists.
The finalists’ independent research projects include diverse areas and interesting findings.