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Intern Eric Chen Wins Google’s Grand Prize

Eric Chen, high school intern in the Wilson lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has won the grand prize in the 2013 Google Science Fair for his project “The Taming of the Flu,” research to help discover a new anti-flu medicine effective against all influenza viruses.

“This is a fantastic achievement, and we are very proud of Eric,” said TSRI Professor Ian Wilson. “It was extremely impressive that Eric was able come to our lab as a high school student with lot of ideas of how to tackle influenza virus and then proceed to follow through on them in the lab.”

The 17-year-old Canyon Crest Academy senior, who began his research while an intern at the University of California, San Diego, bested 14 other science fair finalists selected from tens of thousands of entrants worldwide. Chen captured not only his age category, but also the top overall prize, which includes a $50,000 scholarship and a National Geographic Expedition trip to the Galapagos Archipelago. Canyon Crest Academy also received a $10,000 technology grant on his behalf. The science fair award ceremony was televised live via YouTube from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Currently applying to colleges for the fall, Chen is considering a career either as a university professor, which would allow him to both teach and perform research, or as an entrepreneur.

Youjun Chen and William Pryor Win O’Keeffe Neuroscience Awards

Research Associates Youjun Chen in the Page lab and William Pryor in the Subramaniam lab have received Esther B. O’Keeffe Neuroscience Scholar Awards for 2013-2014.

The awards are presented by the Esther B. O’Keeffe Neuroscience Symposium Fund, which provides support for early-career neuroscience researchers and for symposia to raise awareness and education on the brain and a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Chen is investigating how risk factors for autism influence the dynamics of brain growth during development and whether an altered trajectory of growth in a few key cell types in the brain may contribute to symptoms of the disorder.

Pryor’s research is centered identifying the biochemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and progression of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease to ultimately lead to new and innovative approaches in treating these devastating neurological diseases.

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TSRI Professor Ian Wilson (left) congratulates high school intern Eric Chen on winning the Google Science Fair top prize for his research project, “The Taming of the Flu.” (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)



Celebrating Two Awards
marletta baran patapoutian
TSRI President Michael Marletta (left) recently hosted an overflow-crowd reception to celebrate TSRI’s Professor Phil Baran’s (center) MacArthur Fellowship and Professor Ardem Patapoutian’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator award. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)