Siemens Foundation announces semifinalists and finalists

by Kevin Huang, TALON People Editor

Nineteen upper school students were selected as Siemens semifinalists this year out of the 498 total semifinalists announced on the Siemens website on the morning of Oct. 18. Over 1600 projects were submitted to the competition.

The students are seniors Rishab Gargeya, Joyce Huang, Nikhil Manglik, Connie Miao, Sandip Nirmel, Venkat Sankar, Manan Shah, Scott Song and Arjun Subramaniam, as well as juniors Akhil Arun, Jerry Chen, Amy Jin, Jimmy Lin, Rajiv Movva, Sahana Srinivasan, Justin Xie, Kevin Xu, Shaya Zarkesh and Randy Zhao.

Students participating in Siemens conduct research in STEM fields and then write research papers on their findings. Only seniors may submit individual projects, but high school students of any grade may submit team projects.

Semifinalist Nikhil Manglik (12) studied breast cancer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“A common area of study in breast cancer right now is gene signatures which can predict survival,” he said. “However, many current signatures are limited by the kinds of breast cancer they cover, or the number of genes. My mentor had worked on a similar project in 2015 which had over 60 genes. I managed to whittle that down to two genes such that if both genes are overexpressed more than normal, the patient has a higher survival rate.”

Regional finalist Manan Shah (12) also studied breast cancer and worked on a computational model to assess tumors.

“Last year, I began work on computational imaging and was intrigued by its potential applications to cancer prognosis. I hoped to apply my knowledge in computer vision to solve complex medical problems,” he said. “ My high school research experience has been excellent; I truly appreciate the support of Harker faculty in the discovery of my passion and my research journey.”

Three students were selected as regional finalists on Wednesday out of the 96 students nationwide regional finalists this year. Rajiv Movva (11), Manan Shah (12) and Randy Zhao (11) will present their research virtually at the California Institute of Technology on Nov. 18 and 19.