Nicole, Gr. 10, Wins Top Prize at Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada

British Columbia Student’s New Method for Diagnosing HIV in Newborns wins Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada

2014 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) Highlights Newest Crop of Young Scientists
By Anne Ramsey. Read the full story here.

Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada Winners
SBCC 2014 National Winners, from left to right: Julien Sénécal, Varsha Jayasankar, Anoop Manjunath, Nicole, Gr.10, & Ryan Wang.

OTTAWA, May 23, 2014 – A novel method of HIV detection for newborns under the age of 18 months and for adults before three months post-transmission earned the grade 10, British Columbia student top national honours today in the 2014 “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada” (SBCC).

Nicole Ticea, 15, from York House School in Vancouver, BC was awarded the top prize of $5,000 by a panel of eminent Canadian scientists assembled at the Ottawa headquarters of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

Her impressive research project, mentored at Simon Fraser University by associate professor, Dr. Mark Brockman, is the first test capable of analyzing HIV viral nucleic acids in a point-of-care, low-resource setting. Nicole’s research, was deemed an incredibly innovative solution to a global challenge according to the judges led by Dr. Julie Ducharme, General Manager, Human Health Therapeutics, NRC.

1st place winner, Nicole, will compete for Canada on June 22-25 at the International BioGENEius Challenge, conducted at the annual BIO conference in San Diego, CA.

Read the full story.

Read more about Nicole’s winning project here.
Three Yorkies, Marissa, Joy and Kendra, participated in the Canada Wide Science Fair. See their results.

Yorkies in the News: Five Gr. 4s Competed at DI Global Finals in Knoxville, TN

Destination Imagination contest takes Vancouver students to Tennessee

By Matthew Robinson, The Vancouver Sun. Read the story here.

Gr. 4 Destination ImagiNation Team
Alicia, Kaari, Sarah, Amanda and Falcon make up the Vancouver team of Grade 4 girls now in Tennessee to compete in the 2014 Destination Imagination competition, where student teams solve open-ended challenges.
Photograph by: Ric Ernst, Vancouver Sun.

A quick-witted team of Vancouver students are in Knoxville, Tennessee, this week to compete against some of the world’s most innovative young problem solvers in the annual Destination Imagination Global Finals.

The five Grade 4 students from York House have been in the U.S. city since Monday, awaiting the first round of challenges designed to test their teamwork and creativity.

That shouldn’t be hard for the girls, said Petra Kaksonen, one of the team’s managers.

“I’m really quite amazed when you’re giving a nine-year-old a blank sheet of paper what they can come up with,” she said. “The creativity is amazing.”

During the four-day competition, an estimated 1,400 teams from 41 countries will perform short projects they developed and presented during earlier regional qualifying competitions.

Team member Vanessa said the girls selected the challenge “Laugh Out Loud” and they created a performance in a live comic strip format that includes a story, poem and a song.

Contacted the night before their presentation, Vanessa said she was really excited to present.

“We’re competing against lots of people,” she said. “We just want to do our best and have fun.”

Kaari Urbanek said the team’s props for the performance were mostly unharmed during the flight to Knoxville, but one prop broke in half and could not be fixed.

Undeterred, teammates Zoë and Sarah said the team was still ready.

“If there’s a small little mistake, we have to go on,” said Sarah.

But the girls won’t be judged on that performance alone. The team will also compete in a top-secret “instant challenge” that is designed to get the members drawing on their unique talents and skills and thinking on their feet. It is a test of real-time teamwork and problem solving, according to Destination Imagination, the non-profit group that organizes the competition.

Alicia said they had not yet practised for the instant challenge.

“Sometimes it’s fun, but sometimes it’s just scary because you don’t know what’s coming up,” she said.

Kaksonen said she was “extremely proud.

“There have been tears and disappointment, but lots of cheering and lots of coming together. It’s really heartwarming.”

See the story in The Vancouver Sun.