UPDATE: THREE science students advance to national competition

March 23, 2017

March 21, 2017 - Two of the five OPRF students competing this past weekend at the 42nd Annual Chicago Region Junior Science and Humanities Symposium have won all-expense paid trips to compete at the national level, in San Diego, Calif., from April 26- 30, 2017. This is the first time OPRF has had more than one student advance to the national level.

March 23, 2017, update - An additional OPRF student, Sydney Lupo, also has qualified for nationals.

Here's a summary of the winning projects:

  • Ellen Morgan, “Increasing Lipopolysaccharide Stimulation on Exosomal Fibronectin as a Basis for Stroke Amelioration, ” second place overall in the Chicago region: Exosomes (molecule-filled sacs secreted by many cell types) are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Ellen’s research showed that exosomes can be enriched with desired molecules and could provide a safe and effective method to deliver therapeutics into the brain. In a certain kind of stroke called an ischemic stroke, enriching the exosomes with therapeutic molecules could reduce brain-cell death and improve recovery for stroke patients. Ellen received a $1,500 award for her accomplishment at the regional level. She will give her 12- minute oral presentation and defend her work in a competition at nationals, where she will have the opportunity to win an additional $12,000. 

  • Stephanie Guralnick, “Pink and White Noise as Targeted Memory Reactivation Cues for Declarative Memories in Rats,” fourth place overall in the Chicago region: Stephanie investigated whether white and pink noise could be used to reactivate and strengthen memories during sleep. (White and pink noise are both background noise that provides an auditory “blanket” over other noises.) Judges noted that her results show promise with enhancing memory in a simple, noninvasive, inexpensive manner. Stephanie will present her work in a poster session at the national meeting.

  • Sydney Lupo, “The Effect of Bone Remodeling on the Heterogeneity and Mechanical Properties of Bone”: Sydney focused on investigating calcium and heterogeneity in bones as a possible basis for rethinking current therapies osteoporosis and identifying specific shortfalls in these therapies. She applied her ideas to bone samples supplied by Rush Medical Center, resulting in statistically significant and promising findings.