2021 BioME Student Showcase Recap

The third annual Student Showcase goes virtual, providing high school and college students with an opportunity to present their life sciences research

The BioME Student Showcase is an exciting opportunity for aspirational scientists to showcase their passion for the field. Each year, Maine high school and college students present their original life science-focused research projects in competition for cash and academic prizes.

On April 28 and April 29, 2021, BioME organized the third annual BioME Student Showcase virtually. 10 college students and 10 high school students were selected to present their research to a panel of judges. Typically, the event is held in person, and students are able to connect with future employers and entrepreneurial resources in the state. We opened the college session to the public, which allowed industry professionals, mentors, and friends to tune in virtually. Each contestant demonstrated advanced academic proficiency within the field, and we are honored to share their work.

The Showcase began with the Maine BioGENEius Challenge – a high school poster competition. BioME is the official local partner for the BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious international biotech competition for grades 9-12. Each high school student was interviewed individually and asked to share their poster, talk about their research, and answer questions from the judges. On Thursday, college students, mentors, friends, and judges connected for the college fast-pitch segment of the competition. Each college student presented their research through a 3-minute pitch and slides, followed by questions from the judges. The winners were announced the following day.

BioME Student Showcase college finalists:

  • 1st Place Avery Bond, University of Maine
    Characterizing JC polyomavirus infection to identify potential targets for future therapies
  • 2nd Place Claire Volk, University of Southern Maine
    Stable isotopes may reveal distinct patterns in nitrogen cycling between Fagus grandifolia stands differently affected by Beech Bark Disease
  • 3rd Place – Michael Wilczek, University of Maine
    Generating and analyzing large datasets to address questions in biomedical science
Avery Bond’s presentation starts at 16:39
Claire Volk’s presentation starts at 1:02:35
Michael Wilczek’s presentation starts at 1:12:05

BioME Student Showcase high school finalists

  • 1st Place Patrick Wahlig, Falmouth High School
    Stable Isotope Analysis of Maine-Caught Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) Otoliths as a Means of Determining Natal Origin
  • 2nd Place – Meaghan Caron, Bangor High School
    Fallopia Japonica as an Alternative Fuel Source to Remediate the Spread of Invasive Species
  • 3rd Place – Ogechi Obi, Bangor High School
    Treating Cellulose-Nanofiber with Calcium Alginate for Plasticization

First place recipient, Patrick Wahlig, 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.

BioME Student Showcase Judges

Anne Breggia, PhD – Program Director, Maine Medical Center Research Institute
Gary Goodrich – Owner, Replenova Farm
Patrick Breeding – CEO & Co-Founder, Marin Skincare
Casey Doucette, PhD – Regulatory Affairs Manager, IDEXX
Stephen Pelsue, PhD – Science Director, BBI Solutions
Daniel Calles, PhD – Associate Director of Science & Healthcare, Bowdoin College
Bethany Fortier – Associate Scientist in Research & Development, IDEXX