16-Year-Old Wins Highest Prize of $75,000 in Prestigious Science Fair for Her Work on Biomedical Implants

When most people think of school science fairs, images of baking soda volcanoes and egg drops may fill their minds. But for the most driven STEM students, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair provides a far greater opportunity to showcase their inventions and research, as well as compete for significant amounts of money to further finance their projects. Grace Sun, a 16-year-old from Lexington, Kentucky, was awarded the highest prize of $75,000 at this year's fair for her work on biomedical implants.

Grace's work focused on improving the components that go into biomedical inventions, specifically organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). These are made of silicon, a soft and flexible material, and could be used in more complex implants in the brain or the heart. Unfortunately, OECTs can degrade in the body, causing them to be unstable and have low mobility, making them unreliable for many patients.

Six months of research went into Grace's project and helped her to develop a different way of chemically treating these organic components. This significantly improved their laboratory performance rate. The young scientist hopes that her work can be used to build a better OECT that can detect and treat illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy, and organ failure, as well as a variety of autoimmune diseases.

“This was our number one project, without a shadow of a doubt,” Ian Jandrell, a judging co-chair for the materials science category at ISEF, told Business Insider about Grace’s research. “It was crystal clear that that room was convinced that this was a significant project and worthy of consideration for a very top award because of the contribution that was made.”

Looking forward to the future, Grace has dreams of further improving her research and starting her own company. To learn more about her project submission to the science fair, take a look at Grace's submitted research.

Grace Sun: LinkedIn
h/t: [Good News Network]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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