Three Budding Indian American STEM Leaders among Top 10 Winners of Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022

2022 seems to be the year of young Indian-origin winners in America. It began with Jaskaran Singh having won the Jeopardy! National College Championship. It continues with three budding STEM leaders of Indian origin having finished among the top 10 winners of Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search, America’s oldest and most prestigious STEM competition, helps discover budding scientists among high school seniors across the country. Also known as the US’ Junior Nobel in math and science, this competition “brings together the best and brightest young minds to present their experimental projects, futuristic solutions, scientific innovations, and mind-blowing problem-solving abilities to leading scientists. The US saw the emergence of four Indian-origin teens from the immigrant community, among the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021 winners, for their scientific creativity and innovative thinking.

USA Indians, Indian American community news, Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022 winners

Neil Chowdhury, Washington

The Indian community of Washington is rejoicing at Neil Chowdhury’s success in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022. Neil, 18, finished fifth among the top 10 winners of the United States’ Junior Nobel in STEM and received a cash award of $90,000 for his innovative computational method of studying the role of histones implicated in colon cancer. The project he submitted to the Regeneron Science Talent Search shows his finds that histone proteins cause changes to the way a long string of DNA loops and coils itself to fit inside the nucleus of a cell. In his experiment, Neil tried to replicate the method of modulating the DNA’s physical formation using molecular simulations of DNA polymers and coded the simulation in Python, an open-source programming language. His experiment shows that a modification of histone proteins can help with colon cancer by causing changes in the folding of DNA strings.

Pravalika Gayatri Putalapattu, Virginia

Indians of Virginia pride themselves on having a budding Indian-origin scientist among the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022 winners. 17-year-old Pravalika Gayatri, a resident of Centerville, finished seventh and received a cash award of $70,000 for her project on real-time monitoring of laparoscopic surgeries. She designed a video-assisted program that uses machine learning to detect errors, if there is any, in surgical steps that doctors take in the operating room, so that a corrective measure can be taken immediately. A close relative’s accidental death due to a preventable surgical mistake in the operating room prompted Pravalika to take up the challenging project. Her system uses image segmentation and network optimization to help detect errors five times faster than the existing systems.

Neil Rathi, California

Neil Rathi having ended up being one of the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022 winners, is a matter of pride for California Indians. He finished at the eighth place and received a $60,000 award for his experimental project on how human minds process and optimize language for efficient communication through the “smallest meaningful unit of a word”; for example, how ‘ed’ in words such as ‘played’, ‘talked’, and ‘studied’ indicate both past tense and word completion. His project was aimed at identifying what linguistic patterns languages have in common. He optimized his machine learning-based model that he developed as part of the project to find ‘patterns of informational fusion’ through syntax datasets in four languages. Indian-origin Neil Rathi’s discovery is a step towards understanding how sophisticated the functional dynamics of human minds are.

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