Balbriggan team claims top prize at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

BTYSTE 2016 Winners Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura
Pictured: BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winners Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura of Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan

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11 January 2016 | 0

A project looking at the damage to soil fertility by animal feeds was selected as the overall winner of the 52nd BT Young Scienist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin last Friday.

Transition year students Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan took the top prize for their project ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans’.

The winners were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 28th European Union Young Scientist competition in Brussels later this year, and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy. They will also be brought on an all-expenses paid trip to the home of Williams Racing in Oxfordshire to get a behind the scenes look at how Williams is using technology to maintain their position as one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams.

Biological & ecological sciences category judge Prof. Grace McCormack said: “These students have asked a novel question – could there be any effects of enzymes added to animal feed on worms of importance for soil fertility? The girls provide new evidence that there may be an unexpected detrimental change in behaviour and lifespan of these essential worms. The work is important for the environment and the food industry and will undoubtedly lead to further research in this important area”.

Almost 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 29 counties competed in the RDS for the coveted title of BT Young Scientist(s) & Technologist(s) of the Year.

The award for best individual went to transition year student Shane Curran from Terenure College, Dublin for his project ‘Velodrome: The automated logistics fulfilment platform’. Shane was entered in the technology category at intermediate level.

The award for runner-up group went to sixth year students Gabriel Barat and Adrian Wolniak from Synge Street CBS, Dublin for their project ‘A Mathematical Model of Coffee Rust’. The group were entered in the chemical, physical & mathematical sciences category at senior level.

The award for individual runner-up went to fifth year student Renuka Chintapalli, also of from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan, for her project ‘Developing a predictive tool for identifying FLNc-associated biomarkers of oesophageal cancer metastasis’. Renuka was entered in the biological & ecological sciences category at senior level.

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