Rising Researchers at Science Symposium
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Transposable elements, or “jumping genes” are sequences of DNA that move from one location in the genome to another. Rachel found that stress causes pigment fluctuations in the fish due to transposon movement, a factor that can increase the likelihood of cancer. With that knowledge, she is researching whether betta fish are more likely to develop cancer if they change color at a faster rate when exposed to stress.
Rachel was one of two students in her class to present her research in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF). She also participated in the NSPC Health Science competition at LIU Post.
Next up was senior Jessica Layne whose research spawned from a personal tragedy when a friend of hers passed away from Cystic Fibrosis. Jessica explained the multiple symptoms associated with the disease and her work in developing a potential treatment. Jessica presented her research, titled “Inhibition of Nonsense-Mediated Decay of CFTS mRNA Using Antisense Oligonucleotides,” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories where she worked under the guidance of a mentor through the highly selective Partners of the Future program. Jessica ended her presentation by inviting the audience to read the book, “Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life,” by Mallory Smith, her friend who succumbed to the disease.
Senior Michael Biggiani was also among Long Island’s top science research students who participated in the Partners of the Future program. Both he and Jessica presented their research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories earlier this spring. Through his research, titled, “The Role of m6A Reader Proteins in Plant Development,” Michael examined plant growth with the goal of helping future farmers better manage crops within a changing environment. With a Power Point, Michael explained factors that hinder the growth of plants, such as overcrowding and insufficient sunlight and discussed the cryptochrome function, which regulates plant growth and development.
Senior Thomas Coor, a bassoonist who was tired of paying for double reeds for his bassoon, began making his own reeds, and through this process, started researching “The Convexity and Concavity Applied to Blades of Double Reed Systems.” Thomas happily played his bassoon to demonstrate the sound of the reeds and even took out a handmade “instrument” he created out of PVC pipe to test them. Thomas competed in LISEF where he advanced to the second round and took Honorable Mention.
The evening also featured Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, Director of Food Allergy Advocacy, Education and Prevention for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Food Allegy Center. Before the symposium, Dr. Pistiner hosted a community forum on “Creating Communities of Support for Students with Food Allergy.” His Keynote address discussed “Infant Food Allergy: Prevention & Management in a Quickly Growing Population.”
A gallery of tri-fold presentation boards highlighting the winning science projects from the 7th Grade Science Fair, served as a testament to some of the District’s rising science research stars.
“We’re really proud of the work students have done in developing unique scientific questions and studying them through the scientific research process,” said Mr. Stephen Acquaro who teaches the program with the assistance of Ms. Maria Malzone.
According to Ms. Janna Ostroff, K-12 Supervisor for Science and Technology for Instruction, and coordinator of the Science Research Symposium, the District will continue to elevate the rigor of its science curricula. The District currently offers Advanced Placement Research for juniors and seniors, and Honors Research for grades 9-12.
“Our goal is to cultivate a program that enables students to develop higher-level skills in research and experimentation, while providing opportunities to work with distinguished faculty and scientists, and participate in science competitions,” Ms. Ostroff said. “Looking ahead, we plan on participating in LISEF, JV LISEF, the Long Island Science Congress, and Regeneron science competitions next year as we continue to grow our program.”
Pictured, from left, are science teacher Mr. Stephen Acquaro, science research presenters Thomas Coor, Rachel Sabatello, Jessica Layne and Michael Biggiani; Keynote speaker Dr. Michael Pistiner and Ms. Janna Ostroff, Supervisor of Science and Technology for Instruction.
Science Research student Rachel Sabatello shows how stress in the environment changes the pigment of betta splendens.
Jessica Layne shares her research on finding a possible treatment for Cystic Fibrosis.
Michael Biggiani explains the goal of his plant research.
Thomas Coor demonstrates the sound of his homemade double reeds.
Seventh graders, above and below, proudly stand by their tri-fold presentation boards to answer questions about their science research projects.
Keynote speaker Dr. Michael Pistiner provides insight into allergies in children.