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Honored for excellence in research

Four Parkway high school students attended the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists [STARS] Program at University of Missouri-St. Louis as aspiring scientists and left as award-winning researchers. After presenting their research papers to their peers and project mentors, the students were awarded with a special recognition—the Partnership of Research Institution Award for Excellence in Research.

STARS pairs high school students with prominent area scientists to conduct undergraduate-level research in the fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, medicine and psychology. UMSL partners with scientists from Confluence Discovery Technologies, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis to offer students a variety of research opportunities.

Parkway’s Excellence in Research winners are

• Varsha Murali, Central High, for “The Effect of Metal Ions on the Photodegradation of DTPMP.” Dr. Young-Shin Jun, Washington University. 

• Dawson Ren, West High, “Macromolecular Crowding Effects on Type 1 Collagen Turbidity.” Dr. Natasha Case, Saint Louis University. 

• Harjeev Singh, West High for “Determining the Impact of Diet Induced Obesity on Bone Microstructure Parameters in the Knee Joint.” Dr. Farshid Guilak, Washington University School of Medicine. 

•  Jason Yang, West High for “Analysis of Molecular Dynamics Simulations of and Molecular Docking on the Active Domain of EGFR and its Mutants Implicated with Lung Cancer.” Dr. Chung Wong, University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The STARS Program provides research opportunities and training for high school seniors with aspiring careers in science. A group of 88 students participated in the six-week pre-collegiate program and only 29 produced work strong enough to receive a Partnership of Research Institutions Award for Excellence in Research. 

“The evaluation scores from the panel of scientists who reviewed the research papers were the best in the history of the award,” STARS Director Kenneth R. Mares, a member of the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, said.

The students will receive their awards during ceremonies at each school’s respective board of education meetings.

In its 32 years of operation, STARS has sent more than 2,300 students with research experience to top universities.

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