Five IUSD Seniors Named Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars

Uni High Students

Five IUSD students have been named among the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.


Founded in 1942, the competition offers a chance for America’s best and brightest students to present their original research to professional scientists. Past contestants have gone on to win the world’s top science and math honors such as the Nobel Prize and National Medal of Science.


“It’s similar to winning Oscars in movies,” said David Knight, chair of the science department at University High School. “It’s a big deal.”


Here are the five scholars from IUSD and their research topics:


University High School

Lan Jiang, 18

Defining a new diagnostic paradigm in primary central nervous system hypersomnias

through statistical machine learning

Patrick Liu, 18

iCORDISX: Smartphone-based personalized cardiac monitoring systems using statistical analyses and Bluetooth low energy

Amy Zhong, 17

Plastics destroying your DNA: An inquiry into the R-loop inducing behaviors of Bisphenol A and its implications

Joshua Zou, 17

Project PLANET-NOONS: The pipeline for analyzing new exoplanet transits using neural networks to operate and observe universal surveys

Woodbridge High School

Morgan KopeckyMorgan Kopecky, 17

Optimizing long-term gene expression using chromatin insulators in stably integrated multi-gene constructs 


University High is the only Southern California school to have four students in the top 300. Knight said this is the first time he can remember that University High has had that many.


“It is not surprising that we had four. It really validates the work these kids put in. It also validates the work of our science teachers and the time they invest in supporting kids.”


“We try to inspire kids to go beyond what’s just in our classes,” Knight added. “If they came in without a passion for science, we want to them to come out with a passion for science.”


The top 300 scholars were selected from 1,964 entrants. Each student receives $2,000 with an additional $2,000 going to his or her school. Knight said the money to the school will be used to support after-school programs such as Science Olympiad.


The contestants had to submit a written report on their research as well as teacher recommendations and a transcript.


“It truly is a labor of love for them because they've spent an enormous amount of time during summers preparing not only their research but also preparing their written material,” Knight said. “They’ve really worked hard over the past three or four years.”