Tom Baines Student’s Chemogenetics Project Shines at National Science Fair

Jun. 19, 2018

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Aranyo G., a Grade 8 student at Tom Baines School, competed in the Calgary Youth Science Fair. He won the Top Junior Project in Calgary, and his project was one of the top twelve projected selected to compete at the Canada-wide Science Fair held in Ottawa from May 12-18.

Aranyo competed against 500 other students in Ottawa and received the Gold Medal for Excellence Award, an honour that he alone won amongst the Team Alberta students. Aranyo thanks his mentor, Dr. Argit Roy. Dr. Roy works at the University of Calgary and has mentored Aranyo for past two years. Aranyo’s dream and passion is to pursue a career in Health Sciences.

Aranyo’s project involved the study of chemogenetics—using a virus as a receptor for a drug. Aranyo learned that 12-15 per cent of people with high blood pressure are drug resistant. Typically, in order to help drug resistant patients lower their blood pressure, their carotid body must be removed. The carotid body measures PH, carbon dioxide, and oxygen in the blood. Unfortunately, there are major side effects when the carotid body is removed—i.e. no physical exercise, problems breathing at high altitudes, etc. Aranyo discovered that if chemogentics is applied and a virus is injected into the carotid body, it could serve as a receptor for the drug, C.N.O. This effectively lowers a person’s blood pressure without the need to remove the carotid body.

Aranyo won a $4,000 scholarship for his work in the field of chemogenetics. Congratulations to an outstanding CBE student!