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Awards honor youth pursuing science careers

Tuesday - 3/13/2012, 9:04pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nithin Tumma, a 17-year-old from Fort Gratiot, Mich., has won this year's Intel Science Talent Search for his research on breast cancer treatments that are more effective and less toxic.

High school seniors, competing for $630,000 in prize money, were judged on their scientific research as well as achievement and leadership, both inside and outside the classroom.

President Barack Obama met with the finalists at the White House on Tuesday.

Tumma, who beat out 1,800 applicants in the talent search, won the top $100,000 prize.

Dr. Andy Yeager, the head judge and director of the blood and marrow transplant program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said that Tumma's project has "tremendous implications for the understanding of interactions among molecular pathways in cancer development and for the development of targeted potentially less toxic cancer treatments."

The second place prize of $75,000 went to Andrey Sushko, 17, of Richland, Wash., for his development of a miniature motor, which uses the surface tension of water to turn its shaft. Mimi Yen, 17, of Brooklyn, N.Y., won third place and $50,000 for her study of evolution and genetics.

Alumni from the science talent search have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, National Medals of Science, MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and an Academy Award for best actress. The science talent search is a program of the Society for Science & the Public.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)