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Southern California Biomedical Council Announced Winners

The Southern California Biomedical Council announced its selection of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School graduating senior, Jason Apostol, as the winner of the 2021 Southern California BioGENEius Challenge. With the partnership with the biotechnology institute, the Challenge enables high school students to compete and be recognized for outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field.

The winner of the challenge is Mr Apostol earns a $1,250 scholarship from Southern California Biomedical Council. He will represent Southern California at the International BioGENEius Challenge held June 14-18 in conjunction with the 2021 BIO International Convention. There he will compete against students from across the U.S., Canada, and Germany.

Mr Apostol’s winning project is entitled Refined Genome-Wide Prediction of Transgenerational Epimutations and an Ensemble-Based Solution to the Imbalanced Class Problem in Epigenetics. It uses a computational approach to predict generationally inherited genetic changes. Those are the result of exposure to environmental toxins, and the association between such changes and certain diseases. The ability to identify inherited genome-wide changes may help to develop treatment protocols for preventing the onset of related diseases.

Mr Apostol, who was mentored by science teacher Melissa Klose at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School said that he is influenced by the work of The Skinner Lab at Washington State University. He is interested in the field of transgenerational programming of DNA after reading their study uncovering inheritable changes in the genome following exposure to the pesticide DDT.Mr. Apostol’s project was assigned during the 2021 California Science Fair by a panel of SoCalBio judges including A. Stephen Dahms, PhD, Jennifer Neff, PhD; and Chander Arora, PhD.

Southern California Biomedical Council President and CEO Ahmed Enany said that the annual Southern California BioGENEius Challenge shines a spotlight on our region’s most extraordinary high school student researchers. We govern this event to give these talented young minds a chance to showcase research and improve their development as the next-generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.

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