Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association recently announced the national winners of the 2019 ExploraVision competition, which included several Indian American kids earning honors as part of various teams throughout the country.

From a proposed method to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a water-bound drone that will reduce ocean pollution, the brilliant winners of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition have created innovative technologies that could help build a better, more sustainable future, a press release said.

The competition is considered one of the world’s largest K-12 science and technology competition, which is designed to build problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills.

A team from Coulson Tough K-6 School in The Woodlands, Texas, Algatiles, won the Grades 4 through 6 competition.

This team aims to create a greener future. Sixth graders from Coulson Tough K-6 School in The Woodlands, Texas, proposed Algatiles, an effective roofing alternative that supports the growth of algae and has the ability to absorb thirty-two pounds of CO2 per year, countering anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the release said. Among the team members was at least one child of South Asian origin.

Ninth graders from The Nueva High School in San Mateo, California, including one South Asian American student, developed “A Cure for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection.”

Their invention, which won them the Grades 7-9 age group, is a one-use cure for HBV that contains a CRISPR-Cas9 cocktail specific to the genes for HBx (an important protein coded by the HBV genome) and NTCP (the receptor used by HBV to enter a patient’s liver cell) using lipid nanoparticles targeted to the liver.

Inhibiting HBx and NTCP with CRISPR-Cas9 will eliminate the virus from infected liver cells and cure patients with a single delivery, the release said.

A team from Mission Visa High School in Oceanside, California, won the Grades 10-12 division. The team engineered “M. Luteus” to fix the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. This method to reduce the amount of these gases in the atmosphere by genetically modifying the bacteria Micrococcus luteus strain ATCC 4698 is achieved by inserting carboxysomes and soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO) operons into its genes, the release notes.

Another team in the Grades 10-12 category with at least one South Asian American student, a team of high school seniors from Jericho High School in Jericho, N.Y., finished second.

The team designed the Cancer BAN-R: Blood and Nerve Regeneration. This device is a novel graphene patch which incorporates laser sensors, microneedles, nanotechnology, and growth hormones to provide noninvasive transdermal delivery of specialized therapeutics, helping to restore nerve and tissue function after chemoradiation, the release said.

“Congratulations again to all of the 2019 ExploraVision winners! We look forward to seeing what these bright STEM students will dream up next in their promising futures,” the release said.

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