Top 10 BioGENEius Challenge Finalists to Compete in International BioGENEius Challenge

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April 22, 2013 – Chicago, IL  –  Today, the 2013 U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge named the top 10 U.S. students finalists who will go on to compete in the next and final stage of the competition: the 2013 International BioGENEius Challenge on Tuesday.  "The BioGENEius Challenge, a global event  for student scientists, recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology performed by some of the brightest young minds in our country," said Amy Finan, president of the Biotechnology Institute, the organization that oversees the Challenge.

The BioGENEius Challenge is one of the few international competitions to host participants at a leading industry conference, the 2013 BIO International Convention, offering the students unparalleled access to leading companies, scientists and innovators in biotechnology.  During the Convention, the students present their research.  Innovative research among those that secured a final place include: an investigation into influenza; the use of nanotechnology in cancer management and the impacts of biochar on soil greenhouse gas.

Student finalists include:

• Eric Chen -  San Diego, California
• Nebiyou Getahun – Jericho, New York
• Sahir Jaggi – Latham, New York
• Samantha Marquez – Richmond, Virginia
• Natalie Ng – Cupertino, California
• Jiho Park -- Irvine, California
• Bansri Patel -- Georgetown, Delaware
• Priyanga Selvakumar -- Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
• Emily Wang -- Palo Alto, California
• Rena Weis -- New Prague, Minnesota

Tomorrow, these top 10 finalists will compete against two finalists from Canada and two finalists from Australia.  Out of those 14, the top four finalists will be named.  The first place winner in the International competition will receive a $7,500 cash prize, the second place winner will receive $5,000, the third place winner will receive $2,500 and the fourth place winner will receive $1,000. 

"Through the BioGENEius Challenge and their participation in the 2013 BIO International Convention, these outstanding science students are provided great inspiration and first-hand experience regarding the types of dynamic careers available in the biotechnology industry," said Jay P. Siegel, M.D., Chief Biotechnology Officer and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.  "We are proud to participate in a program that provides students with training and motivation to pursue careers where they will  help fuel, feed and heal the world using the tools of biotechnology."

"The students we are honoring today will most likely be leaders in our industry tomorrow, tackling some of our world's greatest challenges," said Jeffrey Almond, Ph.D., Vice President for Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur.  "Today's top 10 finalists are truly inspirational in showing how using groundbreaking biotechnology can improve our everyday lives."

The U.S. National and International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education.  Generous Co-Lead Supporters of the Challenge include Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of leading global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Support for the BioGENEius Challenge is also provided by International Supporters: The Astellas Foundation, Genentech and MedImmune; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, BioMarin and Sangamo BioSciences.


About Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
At Janssen we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world.  For more information, please visit:

About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.