A Stratford Academy junior is one of four high school winners in the 2017 Neuroscience Research Competition.
Tejas Athni found out in November that he was one of 15 finalists in the American Academy of Neurology contest for his research project on a plant with anti-cancer properties called Bacopa monnieri. On Jan. 30, he received notification that he had scored one of the top four prizes.
Under the guidance of professors, he conducted experiments at Fort Valley State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. His findings showed that the plant’s extract inhibits the growth of glioblastoma multiforme tumor cells, which are normally highly malignant.
Athni will receive a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting in Boston in April. It will be a great networking opportunity, as he’ll be explaining his research poster to doctors and scientists in attendance, he said.
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“It’s the biggest event so far in my research career,” said Athni, who is the son of Sudhir and Ashwini Athni. “It means a lot to me. I’ve worked a lot and I’ve dedicated a lot of time to my research, so this is a nice little surprise to me after all that hard work.”
This summer, he will work on isolating the exact compound that is inhibiting the cancer cells. Athni recently discussed his research with Duke University scientists Elizabeth Reap and John Sampson, and he’s been invited to work in Reap’s lab.