Nuffield students Ameeta and Aneeta Kumar win the UK Young Scientist of the Year competition

18 March 2014

Congratulations to Nuffield Research Placement students, Ameeta and Aneeta Kumar, who were named joint winners of the UK Young Scientist of the Year competition at the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC on Friday.

Ameeta and Aneeta, twin sisters who attend The Abbey School in Reading were awarded the prize for their project to develop a diagnostic tool for identifying cancerous tumours at an early stage of development. They undertook their project while on Nuffield Research Placements at the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology at the University of Oxford.

Reflecting on their win, Ameeta and Aneeta said: “One in four people are affected by cancer every year in the UK and it is the cause of over 150,000 deaths every year. With early diagnosis and initiation of treatment, the mortality and morbidity rate could be reduced. This inspired us to take a Nuffield Research Placement to study the possibility of developing an early diagnostic tool.”

Many cancerous tumours create acidic conditions around them as they grow and develop. Ameeta and Aneeta produced 3-D spherical particles which served as models for tumours. They then introduced a molecule known as ‘pHLIP’ which is able to chemically bind to the surface of acidic cells, enabling them to ‘tag’ the tumour models. Using an imaging technique known as confocal microscopy, the sisters were then able to visualise the cancerous particles. 

Video and images courtesy of the National Science + Engineering Competition.

Other prizes won by students for their Nuffield Research Placement projects

Name

Nuffield Research Placement project title

Award

Henry Roth

Comparison of oxygen consumption between Caucasian and Afro-Caribbean athletes

London International Youth Science Forum Prize

Runner up in the science and maths category of the National Science + Engineering Competition

Lydia Percival

Using green neoprene to reduce the environmental impact of polychloroprene

Highly commended project (science and maths category)

Lily Battershill

The physics of graphene: its potential as a microphone and loudspeaker

Highly commended project (science and maths category)

Annabel Macklin

Assessing the environmental impact of emamectin benzoate on various species of copepod

Highly commended project (science and maths category)

Megan Jack

Evaluation of an alternative type of carbon black ink

Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

Theresita Joseph

Biochemical mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s disease

Medical Research Council Prize

Liala Akhtar

Using RNA molecules in the blood to rapidly diagnose heart attacks

Research Councils UK Prize for the best use of scientific research

Toran Sharma

Physical computing development in schools

Google Creative Tech Prize

Kai Diep

Physical computing development in schools

Google Creative Tech Prize

Victoria O’Hara

Sequencing RNA-dependant RNA polymerase in the virus Feline calicivirus

Winner of a CREST Award

Holly Giles

An investigation into the genes involved in neural cell differentiation in chick embryos

Winner of a CREST Award