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MNHS Senior has Summer Research Published

Aryan Pankaj Chaudhary Manalapan High School senior Aryan Pankaj Chaudhary spent part of his summer completing research that was recently published. For two weeks this summer, Aryan participated in the Spring21 virtual Waksman Institute Summer Experience (Spring21 vWISE), an intensive remote academic science program sponsored by the Rutgers University Waksman Institute.

Aryan was one of 30 students (representing high schools from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, India, and Pakistan) selected to attend this nine-day program. Selected students learned about, and contributed to, an authentic research project in molecular biology that strongly emphasized bioinformatics. The research project focused on DNA sequence analyses of genes from the duckweed plant Landoltia punctata, and how these genes compared to those found in other plant species and organisms. Duckweed is a fresh-water aquatic plant that is of interest to the scientific community because of its use in bioremediation, and its potential use as a biofuel.

During the nine-day program, students completed assignments; attended remote, synchronous seminars conducted by the WISE project director who is a researcher and professor with the Rutgers University Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; worked independently on coursework; and learned about, and made use of, the online "DNA Sequence Analysis Program (DSAP)" to analyze assigned, unique, novel DNA sequences.

Vetted analyses of students' work were submitted for publication to Genbank, an international online repository of DNA sequence data that is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBT), which is part of the United States National Institutes of Health. Genbank is commonly used by scientists for their research. Analyses conducted by Aryan resulted in two publications, which can now be used by practicing scientists worldwide.

Aryan is a student in the Science & Engineering Magnet Program at Manalapan High School. The Science and Engineering Magnet Program offers a four-year program of interdisciplinary studies for students interested in pursuing careers in mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences. Students in this program undertake an accelerated program in mathematics, science, computer science, and electronics. In conjunction with specialized studies, students receive a comprehensive education in the humanities.