Georgia Bio Names South Forsyth High School Junior as 2022 Georgia BioGENEius Winner
Mokshith Mannuru Advances to International Competition Against Top Students
Georgia Bio and the BioEd Institute named Mokshith Mannuru, a junior at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, GA, as the winner of the 2022 Georgia BioGENEius Challenge. The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. As Georgia’s BioGENEius finalist, Mokshith will attend the 2022 International BioGENEius competition, which will be held during the 2022 BIO International Convention, the industry’s trade conference from June 13-16 in San Diego, CA. There he will engage with leading companies, scientists and innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape and gain valuable insights into an industry making significant contributions to the world.
While in San Diego, Mokshith will compete against high school students from the U.S., Canada, and Germany in the International BioGENEius Challenge. The student projects will represent a range of biotechnology topics such as healthcare, agriculture, and the environment.
Mokshith’s project uses bioinformatics to identify the common function of genes that are related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Over 1,000 genes are evidenced to contribute to ASD but are not understood well enough to use genetics in diagnosing or treating ASD. Mokshith hypothesized that these genes contribute to human development and would therefore affect development if a copy of the gene were faulty. He used data from the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) to observe the phenotypes of mice where the ASD genes that are also found in mice were knocked out (deleted). The missing genes were found to strongly affect development or behavior, or lead to embryonic lethality. ASD patients would have one mutated copy of a gene related to ASD and one normal copy. This research suggests several pathways and development processes that attribute to ASD and could be used to validate ASD mouse models that are used in biomedical research.
“The level of competition in Georgia was at an all-time high this year,” said Georgia Bio President and CEO Maria Thacker. “Georgia Bio is thrilled to have Mokshith represent our state on the international stage at the upcoming BIO Convention, and we are proud to support this Georgia scholar in his future endeavors.”
Georgia Bio also congratulates the Georgia BioGENEius runner-up, Varun Sendilraj,who is a senior at Lambert High School in Suwanee, GA. Varun developed a mobile app, DFUCare, which uses deep-learning algorithms to diagnose, analyze and monitor Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU) in diabetes patients. DFU is a major complication of diabetes mellitus that can lead to amputation and mortality if left untreated. Caring for DFU can be expensive and time consuming, which limits treatment options for many patients around the globe. DFUCare quantifies the size of wounds, performs tissue analysis, and detects healing potential over time. It can also allow doctors and patients to share medical reports with experts, saving time and resources for treating diabetic foot ulcers.
Judging the 2022 Georgia BioGENEius Challenge were Jamie L. Graham, Boehringer Ingelheim; Ralph L. Cordell, CDC; Ian Biggs, UGA; and Alex Harvey, ViaMune, Inc.
“I am amazed at the quality and thoughtfulness of the projects on display,” said Ian Biggs of UGA’s Innovation Gateway. “The insights displayed, and the obvious effort put into the projects is way beyond my expectations.”
National and International winners will be announced after the competition. See the International BioGENEius website for more information on the 2022 schedule. Winners will receive cash scholarships.
Follow the BioGENEius Challenge: Throughout the challenge, @BiotechInstitut will be tweeting interviews, photos, and engaging with the biotechnology community by using the hashtag #BioGENEius.
About the Biotechnology Institute
The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit www.biotechinstitute.org.
About the BioEd Institute
The BioEd Institute, a division of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit the Center for Global Health Innovation, works to strengthen Georgia’s life sciences workforce pipeline through classroom-to-career initiatives that align with industry needs. BioEd works closely with its sister organization Georgia Bio, which serves the state’s life science industry. For more information about BioEd, visit them online at www.georgiabioed.org, or on Facebook (@GeorgiaBioEd), Twitter (@georgiabioed), or LinkedIn (@georgia-bioed).