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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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Two Tipperary students win top prize at BT Young Scientists 2023

Their poject looks at the impact of second-level education on teenagers’ lives and development.

TWO TIPPERARY STUDENTS have been named as the BT Young Scientists of the Year this evening.

Liam Carew and Shane O’Connor of the Abbey School in Tipperary are taking home the top prize after impressing the judges with a project on “assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development”.

The two sixth-year students, both aged 19, received the BTYSTE perpetual trophy and €7,500 and are set to represent Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Brussels in September, as well as attending the London International Youth Science Forum in London this summer.

Chair of the Social and Behavioural Sciences Group Judging Panel Professor Joe Barry said that “what we are looking at here is a very impressive survey conducted in three waves over 24 months with more than 2,000 responses examining how secondary school students perceived school to impact on their social, physical and mental wellbeing”.

“One of the key findings coming out of the research was that whilst inequality is prevalent in Deis schools, exponential improvements in areas of pastoral care and physical health are quickly closing this gap,” Professor Barry said.

” To quote directly from the students’ research, ‘Secondary school is a vital social outlet for students and this can be seen across our interviews, focus groups and in particular in our survey’.”

17-year-old Ayush Tambde, a sixth-year student in Stratford College in Dublin, was awarded Best Individual with his project on “analysis of single-cell proteomic data to understand the mechanisms of oncogenic transformation and how to control them”.

Biological and Ecological Sciences Group Judge Dr John Monahan explained that “this project studied the problems of breast cancer”.

“As many know, there are two major groups of breast cancer, one of which can be targeted by drugs for treatment (Luminal cell types; Receptor positive) and one of which is more difficult to treat (Basal cell types; Receptor negative),” Dr Monahan said.

“The project has taken new protein biology approaches to relook at an important existing data set and come up with novel insights into potential treatments for these difficult to treat basal cell breast cancers.”

Adrian Dragomir, aged 19 and in sixth year in Adamstown Community College in Dublin won the prize for Runner-up Individual, with his project, AL-energy.

Chair of Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Individual Judging Panel Professor Orla Feely said that “aluminium-based batteries could play a role in the provision of sustainable energy”.

“This project demonstrates through very detailed experiments how the design of the electrode impacts the battery performance and points the way to future design,” Professor Feely said.

“The judges were very impressed by Adrian’s passion for the subject and his detailed implementation of the scientific method.”

The prize for Runner-Up Group went to 17-year-olds Olivia O’Shea, Erica O’Brien Murray and Abigail O’Brien Murray, who are in fifth year in Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan.

Their project examined: “Can we save the common ash?”

Biological and Ecological Sciences Group Judge Dr Richard O’Hanlon outlined that “ash dieback is the most serious tree disease to arrive in Ireland in over 50 years”.

“These young scientists have provided robust data to highlight potential treatments which could, in combination with other actions, protect our native ash trees.”

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