Students face off to represent Alberta at prestigious science competition

Sixteen of the best young scientists in Alberta faced off at the University of Alberta on Saturday for the chance to represent the province at Sanofi BioGenius Canada.

The winner will go on to represent the province in a national competition

Sixteen of the best and brightest young scientists in Alberta faced off for the chance to represent the province at the Sanofi BioGenius Canada. 1:01

The prodigies were on full display in Edmonton on Saturday.

Sixteen of the best young scientists in Alberta faced off at the University of Alberta for the chance to represent the province at Sanofi BioGenius Canada.

The competition is described as Canada's "most prestigious national student science research competition."

To create their projects the participants got to work with real mentors in real labs, something they would have only been able to experience if they were grad students or a working scientist.  

"This really is more of an opportunity for them to experience science and to experience what it would be like to be scientists," said Sava Knevic the events coordinator. 

"Yes it is a competition but more than anything else what we want is to celebrate the competition of contributions of every student." 

Norman Kim was inspired to research stem cells after his grandfather lost a kidney because of cancer. (CBC)

Norman Kim, a grade ten student, said he is hoping to go on to work in medical science and this experience helped reinforce that goal.

Kim's project was more personal than the majority being showcased. When deciding what to focus on, he thought back to when his grandfather suffered from kidney cancer and had a kidney removed. 

"I thought, 'what about stem cell research' because I had read about how stem cells could become different types of tissue, different types of structures," said Kim.

"So I researched what does it take to make a stem cell become one of these structures."

Everyone is just so motivated. It's really inspiring- Emily Niu

This is the first SBC competition for Kim and he had a pretty bad case of the butterflies when he showed up to the building.

"It's been a hard road getting here, but it has been pretty rewarding," said Kim. "I've learned a lot of stuff about stem cells, there different types of interaction with different types of molecular structures." 

Emily Niu is a grade twelve student competing in her second SBC. This year she studied and presented a project about researching a cure for multiple sclerosis. 

She hopes that she can continue to research the disease when she moves to university.

This is Emily Niu's second time competing, this year she worked on a project regarding multiple sclerosis. (CBC)

Niu said being surrounded by so much great work created by young scientists has been exhilarating.

"There needs to be more people our age involved in science, and research because it's such a large thing and it's so relevant," said Niu. "I'm constantly blown away by every presentation and what everyone can bring to the table."

"Everyone is just so motivated. It's really inspiring."

When asked what she would want she wants to get out of university Niu laughed. 

"I want to get an MD–PhD, but then again who doesn't?"


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