Two of the top three awards at this year’s Taiwan International Science Fair held yesterday morning were won by Taiwanese students, including a first-grade high-school student who identified a protein that affects certain types of cancer and can be used to develop targeted therapy.
The National Taiwan Science Education Center began hosting an annual science fair in 1991 to select student representatives to attend international science exhibitions, and started hosting the annual Taiwan International Science Fair in 2002, inviting young competitors from around the world.
Center director Chu Nan-shyan (朱楠賢) said 294 projects from 21 countries were submitted to the fair this year, the highest number of projects in the fair’s history.
Fifty-three of the projects, or 18 percent, won awards.
Eight gained the top awards and three of those won the Young Scientist Award, the fair’s highest honor.
Kuo Chih-hsin (郭芷忻), a first-grade student at the Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University, showed that the protein resistin, which is secreted by the dendritic cells that are infiltrated by the human’s lung carcinoma cell line A549, is able to cause liver cancer to worsen through the activation approach of WHSC1/Twist, the center said.
The center also said her research results could contribute to molecular diagnostics in cancer testing or therapy development.
Since her childhood, Kuo, whose father is a professor in a university’s department of medicine, has spent many hours doing research experiments in science laboratories and learning about medicine.
“It is amazing to receive this award, because it was the first fair I attended. My research was sometimes a painstaking process, because I had to go straight to the laboratory after school,” she said.
Lin Jung-yaw (林榮耀), convener of the fair’s judges, said Kuo’s project was well designed and one of the best works he had seen in 20 years of judging science projects.
He said that Kuo was clear about the research details and able to answer all the judges’ questions.
Hsu Yu-fang (許毓芳), a student from National Nanke International Experimental High School, won a Young Scientist Award for her mathematic project, which proved a hypothesis about polygonal number.
The third winner is from Germany’s Hans-Thoma-Gymnasium high school, Carolin Charlotte Lachner, who won for her project creating a floating water bridge between two glasses of water, one set to ground potential, and the other on high voltage of up to 25kV direct current.
Lin said the winners of this year’s fair have shown the ability to innovate, completeness in their research design and attention to detail.