Indrani Das

The+Regeneron+Science+Talent+Search+is+one+of+the+nation%27s+most+prestigious+math+and+science+competition.+Every+year+thousands+of+students+across+the+country+submit+projects%2C+and+only+40+finalists+travel+to+Washington+D.C+to+present+their+projects+to+a+panel+of+judges.+This+year+some+of+those+finalist+projects+included+topics+from+behavioral+and+social+science+as+well+as+cellular+and+molecular+biology.

Photo courtesy: Taylor Close

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is one of the nation’s most prestigious math and science competition. Every year thousands of students across the country submit projects, and only 40 finalists travel to Washington D.C to present their projects to a panel of judges. This year some of those finalist projects included topics from behavioral and social science as well as cellular and molecular biology.

It is common for high school students to participate in science fairs. But it is not necessarily common for those high school students to come up with ideas that can be put into practice in actual medical facilities.
17 year old Indrani Das has done just that, with her project on the role of brain cells in the death of neurons winning a $250,000 first place award at the Regeneron Science Talent Search in 2017.
Her project proposed treating brain injuries by reducing the number of astrocyte cells in the brain that release a toxin to the nerves when damaged, reducing damage to the neurons during brain injury as well, increasing neuron overall survival rate.
By fully understanding how brain damage occurs, it would be increasingly easier for scientists to slow down the process, even possibly going so far as to reverse it. Das’s idea is a step in the right direction to achieving this.
Das has also recently started interacting with her own patients after becoming a certified emergency medical technician. She one day hopes to be able to incorporate her love for research with her desire to become a practicing physician.