Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Overview Get Involved Student Profiles 2007 ISEF Participants 2007 ISEF Winners

Meet the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award Winners
Three high school students earned top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair when they each received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and a USD 50,000 college scholarship.  
Dayan Li
Dayan Li has been interested in "the mysteries of human anatomy" since he was a young child. So when the 17-year-old Eleanor Roosevelt High School senior from Greenbelt, Maryland, interned at the National Institutes of Health last year, he dove right into an area that's been puzzling scientists for years: how to prevent cancer.

"Specifically, I looked at tumor markers in endothelial cells," Li explains. Working with cells from the inside of human umbilical veins, Li examined the effects of Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) and nitric oxide (NO) on angiogenesis. The objective: to determine how to inhibit this process—essential to tumor growth and metastasis—and thus, inhibit cancer.

Dayan Li
Past studies have shown TSP1 to be an angiogenesis inhibitor and NO to have the opposite effect. But in Li's research, he found that NO can actually inhibit angiogenesis in low concentrations. And when TSP1 was combined with NO, the reaction switched from inhibitory to stimulatory.

"This is the first report of a TSP-1-induced NO functional switch in human endothelial cells," notes Li. "Such finding clarifies NO's friend-foe reputation and the contradictory tumor responses to TSP-1-releasing drugs, thus prompting a re-evaluation of the drugs to make them safer and more efficient."

Philip Streich
"What's amazing about carbon nanotubes is that they have unrivaled mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties," explains Philip Vidal Streich, a 16-year-old home-schooler from Platteville, Wisconsin. "They are stronger than diamonds, 10,000 times more conductive than silver. And they have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of anything known to man."

The problem is that carbon nanotubes tend to clump together in rope-like bundles and lose their superpowers. Despite efforts to prove the contrary, many scientists have assumed that nanotubes are insoluble and therefore impractical for most real-world applications.

Philip Streich
In his research, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, Streich came up with the idea of using static light scattering to observe the effects of a chemical solvent on carbon nanotubes. Because commercially available spectrometers were not sensitive enough for his testing, Streich designed and custom-built his own "using spare parts from the lab."

The result: the first quantifiable evidence that nanotubes are indeed thermodynamically soluble. "This could be the key to finally applying nanotubes as a super-material," observes Striech.

Dmitry Vaintrob

When Dmitry Vaintrob was eight years old, he asked his dad if there were an infinite number of Pythagorean triplets. His father, a mathematician, suggested Dmitri try to figure out the answer for himself. Solving the problem was so much fun, the youngster got hooked.

Today, Vaintrob, now 18 and a senior at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon, is following in his father's footsteps, pursuing a career in mathematics. This past summer, Vaintrob attended "summer camp at MIT" through his participation in Research Science Institute, and began work on his current research project: a mathematical investigation of string topology.

Dmitry Vaintrob
Vaintrob's research involves applying algebraic expressions to certain dimensional spaces. His work shows that loop homology and Hochschild cohomology coincide for an important class of manifolds. "For the first time," Vaintrob explains, "there is an algebraic computation for the string topology Batalin-Vilkovisky algebra of a higher dimensional surface other than a sphere or a projective space."

This research, related to string theory, may have important implications in the field of theoretical physics.

Looking Back at Past Intel ISEFs
Intel ISEF 2006 (PDF; 34 pages)
Intel ISEF 2005 (PDF; 19 pages)
Intel ISEF 2004 (PDF; 23 pages)
Intel ISEF 2003 (PDF; 7 pages)
Intel ISEF 2002 (PDF; 3 pages)