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Germantown students compete in annual science contest

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Just like many other things that have taken place in the last 18 months, the Battle of the Brains math and science competition looked very different this year.
Instead of creating displays and giving in-person presentations to judges while members of the community looked on, students created video presentations which were reviewed by judges. The one thing that didn’t change is the quality of the projects.
“These students are certainly talented,” said Battle Chairman Steve Chandler. “With these future scientists in charge, the future looks bright.”
Students from Germantown High School and Houston High School, along with students who live in Germantown but attend a school outside the City or who participate in home school, were invited to submit video presentations of projects using math or science to solve a problem.
Despite the format change, 63 students worked in teams of up to four participants and submitted 27 projects.
While the original plan was to award only three teams, judges were so impressed with the results of the students’ work that the commission decided to include three honorable mention awards.
Ready to be wowed?
n First place – Saksham Rajan Saksena, Houston High School
Omnidetector: Universal Screening Test for Cancer, Stroke from Atrial Fibrillation and COVID Thrombophilia
This solo project tackled the problem of invasive and expensive screening strategies for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The project sought to determine if real-time ultrasound scanning of a blood vessel could be used as a unified screening tool by identifying circulating tumor cell clusters, which are larger than normal blood cells and are seen during multiple stages of cancer, and microthrombi, which are also larger and are precursors of multiple cardiovascular diseases.
n Second place – Nipun Rajan, Houston Middle School
Personalizing Masks for Optimal Results Using Computer Algorithms
In a very timely project, Nipun Rajan sought to measure the filtration of different masks and the strength of air output of different users to personalize the correct mask for each person in a particular risk setting.
n Third place – Suhu Aslam, Laila Sharif and Esha Aslam, Houston High School
The Application of Urine Tests in the Presence of Coronavirus
The trio sought to find an alternative to the costly, invasive and sometimes slow tests currently used to detect the presence of Coronavirus. The research sought to prove that urine tests can be used to detect COVID-19 due to the fact that infected patients tend to have higher urine occult blood levels, proteinuria levels and pH values and lower specific gravity values.
n Honorable mention projects:
• Project Prodo by Hamin Jin, Anissa Pokorny-Yadav and Connor Jordan, Houston High School
• Pen Chromatography by Njwi Achoh, Gabrielle Brown, Stephanie Zou and Liliana Diaz, Germantown High School
• Color Theory in Psychological Perception by Elizabeth Bridges, Germantown High School
Judges included university professors, chosen for their expertise in the project field.
Winners, including those who received honorable mention, will receive cash prizes. Saksham Saksena will have his name added to the coveted Einstein Trophy, donated by the Dr. Dino Palazzolo family.
The Battle of the Brains was developed in 2009 by the Germantown Education Commission as a way to revive and nurture interest and celebrate student achievement in STEM subjects.
This year’s event was generously sponsored by Trustmark Bank, Tower Ventures, Simmons Bank and Grove Park Homeowners Association.

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