2020 BioME Student Showcase Recap

On April 15, 2020, BioME organized the second annual BioME Student Showcase. The format was a little different this year, but despite obvious difficulties, the Showcase was held virtually and proved to be a success. 10 college students and 16 high school students were selected to virtually present their original life sciences-related research to a panel of judges in competition for cash and academic prizes.

The BioME Student Showcase & Spring Networking Reception was originally scheduled to be held at Cloudport CoWorking Multispace in Portland, but the in-person event was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Showcase was held via Zoom and began with the Maine BioGENEius Challenge/high school poster competition. BioME is the official local partner for the BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious international biotech competition for grades 9-12. High School students were interviewed individually and asked to share their poster, talk about their research, and answer questions from the judges. Later in the day, college students, mentors and judges connected through a Zoom video conference for the college fast-pitch segment of the competition. College students presented their research through a 3-minute pitch and 5 slides. Each pitch was followed by questions from the judges. The winners were announced the following day at noon.

This year’s college winners include:

  • 1st Place AwardSarah Holbrook, University of Maine
    AAV9-Ighmbp2 gene therapy significantly improves motor performance in severe SMARD1-like mouse model, nmdem3
  • 2nd Place Award Anastasia D’Amico, University of Southern Maine
    Investigating the Effect that Inhibiting FABP4 or FABP5 May Have in Myeloma Cell Proliferation
  • 3rd Place AwardRachel Cray, University of Southern Maine
    Role of oxidative stress within the astaxanthin biosynthesis pathway of Haematococcus pluvialis

This year’s high school winners include:

  • 1st Place Award  Ijeoma Obi, Bangor High School
    Synthesis of an Azobenzene – Based Cholesterol Mimic for Gated Ion Channel Modifications
  • 2nd Place AwardVetri Vel, Bangor High School
    Real-time Fall Detection System for the Elderly Using Deep Learning and Thermal Imaging
  • 3rd Place Award Swetha Palaniappan, Cape Elizabeth High School
    The effect of Microplastics on cell culture

Ijeoma Obi will represent Maine in the BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious international biotech competition for high school students at the BIO International Convention. BioME is proud to be the official local partner of the BioGENEius Challenge.

The BioME Student Showcase started as an initiative in 2019 to support innovation and commercialization of student ideas in Maine, as well as connect current students with potential future employers and entrepreneurial resources in the state. The second annual BioME Student Showcase was sponsored by Maine Technology Institute.

BioME Student Showcase Judges:

Anne Breggia, PhD – Program Director, Maine Medical Center Research Institute
Kristy Townsend, PhD – Associate Professor of Neurobiology, University of Maine
Gary Goodrich – Owner, Replenova
Patrick Breeding – Project Manager & Co-Founder, Dermarus
Stephen Pelsue, PhD – Science Director, BBI Solutions
William Palin, PhD – Chairperson, Biotechnology Sector – Maine Technology Institute