SBCC 2013

Canada’s youth bring real-life science innovations to life as 11 regional winners head to Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada national competition

20th annual SBCC National Awards take place in Ottawa on April 9 with the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology  

TORONTO, ON, April 5th, 2012 – After months of preparation, research and collaboration with top university mentors, an elite group of 11 high school whiz kids from across the country will be in Ottawa April 8-9 competing for Canada’s ultimate student biotechnology science prizes in the 2013 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).

Over 4,500 young scientists have participated in the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada” since its inception 20 years ago. The SBCC varies from other science competitions as students are given access to high quality lab equipment and are paired with mentors. For the last 20 years, the competition has been giving aspiring young scientists the chance to develop research that can lead them towards a career in science, making it a win for all of those involved.

The National SBCC Awards ceremony will be held April 9, 1 pm EDT, at the National Research Council Headquarters, Ottawa, with the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources Skills Development Canada as keynote speaker. The Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology will also be in attendance.

In total, judges chose nine cutting-edge biotechnology research projects from 123 projects presented by 208 high school and CEGEP students across Canada.  Now in its 20th year, the SBCC gives young scientists access to university labs and academic mentors, encouraging the pursuit of future studies and careers in the country’s fast-growing biotechnology sector. 

"The 20th anniversary is a huge milestone for the ‘Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” said Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Canada, which originally founded the event. “The competition has grown tremendously over the years, first starting as a side event to the international BIO conference in Toronto. Now having expanded Canada-wide, the SBCC gives aspiring young scientists the chance to develop research that can lead them towards a science career. Through our partnership, we’re able to nurture talented young Canadians to develop potentially commercial ideas.” To hear more of Mr. Lievonen’s perspective, click here.

This year’s regional finalists:

 

  • British Columbia: Selin Jessa, 17, Grade 12, Dr. Charles Best Secondary School, Coquitlam, researched how genetic mutations naturally help some HIV patients escape symptoms. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/16u1zZj

 

  • Alberta: Arjun Nair, 16, Grade 11, Webber Academy, Calgary, aimed for an effective cancer-killing bullet made of gold nano-particles. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/12i4QIP

 

  • Saskatchewan:  Saruul Uuganbayar, 17, Grade 12, Centennial Collegiate, Saskatoon, invented a molecular remedy for mutated cells with the dream of curing cancer. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/XGWBqX

 

  • Manitoba:  Daniel Huang, 16, Grade 11, St. John’s Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, discovered a potential new tactic to fight the world's deadliest brain cancer. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/14LeurK

 

  • Southwestern Ontario:  Melanie Grondin, 17, Shawn Liu, 18, Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, found a marker in medicine's quest for the holy grail of leukaemia treatments: limitless supplies of healthy stem cells. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/XGWICS

 

  • Greater Toronto:  Lauren Chan, 17, Grade 12, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, described a potential new therapy to reduce the severity of diabetes. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/YQKWon

 

  • Eastern Ontario:  Adamo Young, 16, Grade 11, Lisgar Collegiate Institute, Ottawa, found that altering its nitrogen supply appears to tame a toxic fungus that ruins billions worth of grain worldwide. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/YtJOaB

 

  • Quebec:  Eunice Linh You, 17, Grade 11, Laval Liberty High School, Laval, investigated how to potentially tailor a more effective stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/YtJJnq

 

  • Atlantic:  Jared Trask, 18, Kaitlyn Stockley, 17, Grade 12, Holy Spirit High School, Conception Bay South (Newfoundland), demonstrated a novel idea to improve thick biofuels by adding a thinner made from fish oil. View the project profile here: http://bit.ly/YZkOVp

 

The project finalists will be judged on April 8-9 at the Ottawa headquarters of the National Research Council by a panel of pre-eminent Canadian scientists:

  • Dr. Luis Barreto, MD, Chief Judge, Biotech Education Canada 
  • Dr. Roman Szumski, Vice President Research, National Research Council, Canada
  • Dr. Paul Lasko, Scientific Director, Institute of Genetics, Canadian Institutes of Health  Research
  • Dr. Pierre Meulien, President, Genome Canada 
  • Dr. Robert Tsushima, Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Science, York University
  • Dr. Ron Pearlman, Associate Scientific Director, Gairdner Foundation
  • Dr. Jerome Konecsni, President, Innovation Saskatchewan  

The judge’s panel also includes Waterloo’s Janelle Tam, the 2012 national SBCC first prize winner. Last year she detailed the anti-aging potential of a nano compound found in wood pulp, capturing media attention in at least 36 countries. She aspires to begin studies at Princeton this fall.

In addition to their regional competition winnings, Canada’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place national winners will receive $5,000, $4,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, with $500 prizes for honorable mention.  A special $1,000 prize is awarded to the project deemed by the judges to have the greatest commercial value. The top two single person projects advance to the Sanofi-sponsored International BioGENEius Challenge to be held in Chicago, IL on April 21, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention.

 


 

Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada celebrates 20 years of advancing science

74% of SBCC participants pursued science careers thanks to national biotechnology research competition

 

 

TORONTO, ON, March 7, 2013 – Over the past 20 years, over 4,500 high school students across Canada have participated in the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)”, a national biotechnology research competition that encourages students to pursue careers in science.  Inspired by the question “How will you change the world?” these Canadian teens, mentored by leading academics and scientists, have created astounding and life-changing scientific discoveries, many of which have been patented and commercialized.

Now in its 20th year, the “2013 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)”  starts in mid-March and culminates in a national awards ceremony in Ottawa on April 9.  For many of the students, it provides a path to careers and research in science and biotechnology. According to a survey of past SBCC participants by Bioscience Education Canada[1], 84% said their participation in the competition helped determine their field of study or career plan and 74% were pursuing biotechnology-related education or professions.  Nearly 60% of respondents were female.

Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Canada, which helped establish the competition in 1993, explains: "Twenty years ago, we saw the SBCC as a way to give back. Today, we see that these teens have achieved real results, which shows the power of science to accelerate Canadian competitiveness and productivity. The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) stands as a symbol of collaboration between industry, government and academia and has helped foster a culture of innovation in Canada. With the right talent, funding and intellectual property protection we can cultivate the next generation of leaders to shape Canada’s future.” To hear more of Mr. Lievonen’s perspective, click here.

Some of the celebrated discoveries of the past 20 years include:   

  • In 2007, at age 17, Ted Paranjothy of Winnipeg developed a now- patented anti-cancer agent able to kill human cancer cells without harming healthy ones. He is the only Canadian that has won both the 2007 SBCC regional and national competitions, and the Sanofi-sponsored International BioGENEius Challenge. Now 22, Ted is an independent researcher in cell science at the University of Manitoba.
  • Grade 9 student Rui Song of Saskatoon won the #1 national award in 2010 for her work to genetically fingerprint a lentil crop-killing fungus that “astonished” the judges.  She placed second in the 2012 competition and today, in Grade 12, is weighing full-time university offers.
  • In 2011, Montreal CEGEP students Simon Leclerc, Jonathan Khouzam and Francis Marcogliese came second in the National competition for their work to make a sorbet for vegetarians, developing a substitute for the animal-based gelatine normally found in the popular frozen dessert. They received a special award for the project with the greatest commercial potential.
  • 2012 national competitors Jeanny Tao, 18, and Miranda Wang, 19 of Vancouver, identified a species of bacteria from the Fraser River’s muddy banks that helps decompose plastic.  They received a special prize for the “greatest commercial potential, and shared their story at Ted@Vancouver and TED 2013 in Los Angeles.
  • The 2012 national winner, Grade 12 student Janelle Tam of Waterloo, detailed the anti-aging potential of a nano compound found in wood pulp, capturing media attention in at least 36 countries. She starts at Princeton this fall.

“With its 20-year heritage, the SBCC shows how critical partnerships are to advance science and talent in Canada,” Jon Fairest, CEO of Sanofi Canada, said. “From the mentoring provided by dedicated academics, to the support of government and the educational sector, the SBCC truly stands out as a model for innovative public-private partnerships. Together, we must all think differently about our future and ensure we have the right foundation in place.”

Rick Levick, Executive Director, Bioscience Education Canada, which coordinates the SBCC,commented, “The original competition was known as the BIO-Connaught Student Biotechnology Competition and was a side event to the international BIO conference in Toronto.  In 2002, it expanded Canada-wide, and is now replicated in Australia and the US.  The “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” is different from other science competitions because our students work with mentors and have access to the highest quality lab equipment and supplies. With the support of founding sponsors like Sanofi Pasteur Canada, we are working to accelerate science and build a Canadian talent pool in the in biotechnology sector.”

Regional competitions begin in Manitoba on March 21. Over the next few weeks, award ceremonies  will take place in Winnipeg, MB (March 21), Vancouver, BC (April 4), Calgary, AB (April 2), Saskatoon, SK (March 27), Southwestern Ontario/Hamilton, ON (March 27), Toronto, ON (March 28), Eastern Ontario/Ottawa, ON (March 28), Montreal, Quebec (March 28) and Atlantic Canada/Moncton, NB (March 27). The winners of each regional competition will present their work at the national competition, held at the headquarters of the National Research Council in Ottawa on April 9, 2013. The first and second place winners of the “Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)” will advance to the International BioGENEius Challenge held in Chicago, IL on April 21, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention. For a full schedule of dates, locations and judges, click here.



[1] Survey involved 375 of an estimated 4,500 past SBCC participants since 1994)