Ground-breaking research by a 17-year-old Saskatoon student investigating lentil disease resistance earned top prize in the Saskatchewan competition of the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).

Rui Song, a grade 11 Walter Murray Collegiate student, went on to win 2nd place in the national competition, held at the headquarters of the National Research Council in Ottawa on May 7, 2012. On June 18, Rui will join first place winner Janelle Tam from Ontario, to represent Canada in Boston at the Sanofi-sponsored International BioGENEius Challenge, taking place in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention.

In Saskatoon, Rui won the top $2,000 regional prize with her lentil research. Second place, earning a $1,200 prize was Kelly Zheng, Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon for a project focusing on wheat research. The third prize went to Rebecca Green from St. Joseph’s High School in Saskatoon for a project that explored biogas production from canola straw.

“The most important thing that I feel I have received from the SBCC is an understanding and appreciation of the tremendous potential of research to change the world for the better, and the motivation to make myself a part of that potential,” commented Song. Rui also won the regional and national competitions in 2010 and was named one of the “Top 20 Under 20” by Youth in Motion last year. “The students in this competition represent some of the brightest young scientists in Saskatchewan and in Canada.

I congratulate them all on their outstanding achievements. Initiatives like these are key in encouraging youth to consider science as a career path and in fostering new talent in the innovative life sciences sector in our province,” said Carol Reynolds, regional coordinator for SBCC Saskatchewan.

“Over the past 19 years, we have helped more than 4,000 Canadian youth bring their passion, creativity and scientific ideas to life,” said Rick Levick, Executive Director, Bioscience Education Canada. The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is unique because it partners participating students with mentors who have access to quality lab equipment and supplies. With the help of our community and sponsors across this country, we are creating a vital talent pool in Canada’s growing and important biotechnology sector.”

The 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) saw students compete in nine regional competitions throughout April. This year, more than 240 high school and CEGEP students across Canada submitted 192 projects that range from exploring potential new drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer to using mold fungi as an alternative to traditional pesticides.
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