Two HSE Researchers Head to ISEF

Two HSE Researchers Head to ISEF photo
High School East students Sydney Bracht and Matthew Mullahy, who are part of the ThINK Science Research Program, took first place at the recent Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. This honor qualifies them to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh later this year.

Sydney placed first in the category of animal sciences. She investigated the mechanisms behind cancer metastasis utilizing the nematode C. elegans, whose development of the reproductive system employs cell invasion, a process also found in cancer metastasis. Utilizing reverse genetics, she identified genes of interest that play a role in cell migration. Additionally, she created a novel strain in which fluorescence was added to key reproductive cells to facilitate viewing of the invasion process. Sydney worked in the lab of Dr. David Matus and was mentored by Taylor Medwig, a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University.

Matthew placed first in the category of behavioral and social science. He investigated brain NG2 glia cells, the decline of which has been associated with mood and anxiety disorders. His research works toward understanding the biological mechanisms behind depression. Matthew also worked at Stony Brook University in the lab of Dr. Adan Aguirre and was mentored by doctoral candidate Alexandros Kokkosis. 

“It is a true testimony to the caliber of work that we do to see two students recognized for their research at the international level,” said High School East research coordinator Maria Zeitlin. “The untold hours and the true grit within these students, and all of the students in the program, illustrates that hard work, passion, and a love of science translates into measurable scientific discovery.”

Also honored were High School East students Shrey Thaker (third place in cellular and molecular biology), and Alexis McCauley-Pearl (honorable mention and recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize). ISEF, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, provides 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories the opportunity to present their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes.