Student wins BioGENEius Challenge with nanoparticle anti-aging compound

(Nanowerk News) An Ontario student, 16, who invented a disease-fighting, anti-aging compound using nano-particles from trees, won top national honours today in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC).
Her super anti-oxidant compound acts like a "nano-vaccuum" and could one day help improve health and anti-aging products by better neutralizing harmful free-radicals in the body. Her research is detailed online at
Janelle Tam
Janelle Tam
Janelle Tam, a Grade 12 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, was awarded the $5,000 first prize by an impressed panel of eminent Canadian scientists assembled at the Ottawa headquarters of the National Research Council of Canada.

Thirteen brilliant students, all just 16 to 18 years old, took part in the national finals. They were top prize winners of nine regional SBCC competitions conducted nationwide in March and April, events that showcased youthful Canadian talent in the fast-growing field of biotech science.

The theme of the competition, "How will you change the world?" inspired hundreds of students to participate in 2012 SBCC events Canada-wide.

Janelle Tam worked alongside Dr. Zhaoling Yao from the University of Waterloo and is the first to show that nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) is a powerful antioxidant, and may be superior to Vitamin C or E because it is more stable and its effectiveness won't diminish as quickly.

"NCC is non-toxic, stable, soluble in water and renewable, since it comes from trees. The results of my research were really exciting," she says and especially since cellulose is already used as filler and stabilizer in many vitamin products. One day those products may be super-charged free radical neutralizers thanks to NCC, she hopes.

Working alongside a young student is not an everyday occurrence, and Dr. Yao was deeply impressed by Janelle's hardworking, creative thinking, organization and presentation skills. "It was a pleasure to have her in my lab since Janelle is not only a task-orientated young lady, also she also gets along very well with others."

About the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)
The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) is a national, biotechnology research competition that encourages high school and CEGEP students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology. The initiative is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi Canada, Genome Canada, the National Research Council Canada/ Conseil national de recherches Canada (NRC-CNRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (CIHR-IRSC) and the Government of Canada's Youth Awareness Program. Canada's respected Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada has inspired counterpart competitions in the USA and Australia.
Source: Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge
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