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Students from California and Georgia named runners-up

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Neil Deshmukh (11th Grade, Monrovian Academy, Bethlehem, PA)
was named the grand prize winner of the International BioGENEius
Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that
recognizes outstanding research and innovation in biotechnology. Judged
by industry and academic experts, Neil’s research on a low cost,
scalable device and associated algorithms with diagnostic potential for
multiple states stood out among the impressive research from his 15
fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Neil will return home with a
cash prize of $7,500.

“Every year, we are incredibly impressed with all of the talented young
people who compete in the BioGENEius Challenge. This year’s winner, Neil
Deshmukh, especially wowed us with his innovative thinking and spirit of
tenacity, curiosity and passion for humanity that leads to major
breakthroughs in human health,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President,
Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication,
Johnson & Johnson. “We are pleased to provide support to the
Biotechnology Institute and the BioGENEius Challenge, and we hope to
fuel young scientists like Neil and all of the BioGENEius participants
by expanding our commitment to champion science through the Dr. Paul
Janssen Project.”

Ananya Ganesh (11th Grade, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA)
and Melanie Quan (10th Grade, Los Lomas HS, Walnut Creek, CA)
were awarded highest honors for their research on the novel assessment
of pulmonary function in early onset scoliosis and utilizing algal-based
biofuel byproducts to create novel bioplastics, respectively.

The winner and runners-up were named during the keynote at the 2019 BIO
International Convention, which featured Siddhartha Mukherjee, author
of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and winner of the
2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. The International BioGENEius
Challenge allows students the unique opportunity of attending the BIO
International Convention, a leading biotechnology industry conference,
which helps them gain valuable insights from leading biotech companies,
scientists, leaders and innovators.

“We could not be more inspired by this year’s International BioGENEius
Challenge winner and those receiving highest honors. They represent the
next generation of innovative scientists working today on solving some
of the most pressing global health, sustainability and environmental
crises in the years to come,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of the
Biotechnology Institute. “We are especially proud that young women of
broad cultural and ethnic diversity represent more than 50 percent of
our finalists historically – significant to our effort to advance women
in STEM.”

Students were assessed on the quality of their research, presentation
skills and the ability to handle challenging questions regarding their
research, scientific knowledge and on the potential commercial and
practical applications of their project.

The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a
U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous
support of the Institute and its programs come from Johnson & Johnson
Innovation and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit
organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact
of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the
public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its
immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental
problems. For more information, visit


Biotechnology Institute
Quinta Jackson
[email protected]