Maine BioGENEius winner shares experience at the International Finals

This post was written by Ijeoma Obi, a high school student from Bangor, who won our 2nd annual BioME Student Showcase on April 15, 2020. As the winner, Ijeoma got to represent Maine and was recognized with High Honors for her research at the international finals of The BioGENEius Challenge during BIO International Convention. Ijeoma utilized novel molecular design for the pharmacological modification of ion channel function, research that could help with the delivery of life saving medications. Watch Ijeoma’s presentation at the 2020 BioME Student Showcase. Below she describes her experience.

Guest post by Ijeoma Obi

In April, I had the esteemed privilege of participating in this year’s BioME competition. After winning, I moved onto the BioGENEius challenge, and I’m glad to say that I received high honors in the competition. Awards are great, but experiences are worth discussion, and I believe we can all agree that experiences are greater than anything we can gain.

As everyone knows, because of the pandemic, everything has become virtual. The BioGENEius challenge was held over Zoom for about a week. I spent the majority of my time dressed in formal clothes, facing my camera, and talking to BioGENEiuses from all over the country. From California to Maine, the BioGENEiuses were a group of intelligent, skilled, crafty, and incredible kids like me who were there to have fun and share their research. We received feedback from experienced judges, researchers, and alumni. I made friends along the way, connected with them, and learned more about how they’re continuing their research through the pandemic.

Speaking of connections, aside from the competition, fun was had by all. Pizzas were delivered to our houses and we all virtually broke bread. Additionally, we played with marshmallows, watched The Matrix together, and even listened to a mix of our favorite songs!

I learned two valuable lessons throughout the competition. One, nothing stops innovation, absolutely nothing. Two, even though we are all apart from each other, we can still share experiences to the fullest while learning more from each other.

BioGENEius was a blast, and I can’t wait for the research I’ll carry on in the future!

Watch the virtual BioGENEius finals

About BioGENEius

BioME is the official local partner for the BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious international biotech competition for grades 9-12. The high school winner of BioME Student Showcase automatically qualifies to compete against international students in the BioGENEius Challenge finals during the BIO International Convention. The Maine BioGENEius Challenge is open to any student in grade 9-12 attending public, private or home school in Maine.

2020 Maine BioGENEius finalists

1st Place Award   Ijeoma Obi, Bangor High School
Synthesis of an Azobenzene – Based Cholesterol Mimic for Gated Ion Channel Modifications

2nd Place Award –Vetri 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