NJ Desi Girl Wins Top Science Prize

New Jersey desis taking the top honors in academic competitions is hardly news these days.

Still, one must note the stupendous achievement of 17-year-old Indrani Das of Oradell (NJ) in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition on March 14, 2017.

Indrani won the top award of a quarter-million dollars for her study of a possible approach to treating the death of neurons due to brain injury or neurodegenerative disease.

A contributor to neuron death is astrogliosis, a condition that occurs when cells called astrocytes react to injury by growing, dividing and reducing their uptake of glutamate, which in excess is toxic to neurons.

Indrani Das, NJ

In a laboratory model, she demonstrated that exosomes isolated from astrocytes transfected with microRNA-124a both improved astrocyte uptake of glutamate and increased neuron survival.

Regeneron Science Talent Search (previously referred to as the Intel Science Talent Search competition) is considered America’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition.

Multi-Talented

It’s not all studies for this young gal.

Besides playing the piccolo trumpet in a four-person jazz ensemble, Indrani mentors younger researchers and tutors math.

In the precious few hours left in her hectic daily schedule, Indrani occasionally works with patients as a certified EMT.

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