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See Inside September 2011

Her Summer Pastime? Cancer Research

High school student Shree Bose discusses her win at the first Google Science Fair



Andrew Federman

NAME: Shree Bose
AGE: 17
TITLE: Senior, Fort Worth Country Day School
LOCATION: Fort Worth, Tex.

How did you hear about the Google Science Fair?
I did science fairs before, but it was mostly the “cut paper out and paste it on a board” sort of thing. And I saw this little ad on the Google home page introducing the first ever Google online science fair. And so I thought, well, I love Google and I love science fairs, so maybe this could work for me.

What was your project’s focus?
My project was about finding a link between this protein in the cell called AMP kinase, which is an energy protein of the cell, and the development of drug resistance of ovarian cancer cells to this drug called cisplatin. Basically, we found that this protein might be playing a role in cancer cells becoming resistant to the drug.

That would actually mean that for a patient with ovarian cancer who first responded well to treatment but then came back years later with a resistant strain of the disease, if we added in an AMP kinase inhibitor, we could boost the efficiency of their drug therapy almost back up to where it was when the cells were still responding
to the drug.

What drew you to this topic?
Well, two summers ago, actually, my grandfather passed away from cancer. I had already known I wanted to do research, but I didn’t know what field, and that just kind of decided it for me. I knew I wanted to go into cancer research.

Where did you do this research?
I worked at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. It’s a graduate school for biomedical sciences in Fort Worth. I e-mailed professors there, and one accepted me. Her name is Dr. [Alakananda] Basu. She specializes in breast and ovarian cancer, so she made me do some background research. We came up with this project, and I put it all together. And she allowed me to work in her lab all summer. So I was really lucky to find her.

You spent your whole summer working on this project?
It took about three months, and then I worked a little bit on weekends, but I’m already a high schooler who doesn’t sleep. So that did not help. I spent all summer, and I spent over 40 hours in the lab every week, but it was worth every second.

Do you plan to pursue higher education in the sciences?
Yes. I want to major in biology, I hope, as an undergrad, and then my dream job would be an M.D./Ph.D., which is a medical researcher, where I could combine treating patients by being a physician with coming up with the treatments for the patients as a researcher. But if that falls through, I would love to just be a doctor and make the world just a little bit better.

Other than a scholarship award of $50,000, a free trip to the Galapagos Islands and an internship at CERN in Geneva, what will you take away from this year’s Google Science Fair?
The one thing I will always remember are the other finalists. [These 14 people are] the most incredible minds that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. And I am sure that I will definitely be friends with a lot of these people, if not for my entire life, then definitely for a really long time.

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