March 30, 2016
Kunal Shroff and Assistant Professor of Biology John Choy
High school senior Kunal Shroff and Assistant Professor of Biology John Choy

Kunal Shroff, high school senior and lab assistant in Catholic University’s Department of Biology, won the third-place medal of distinction for basic research for his work on Huntington’s disease at the award ceremony for the Intel Science Talent Search earlier this month.

Shroff was chosen as one of 40 finalists out of this year’s 1,750 applicants who received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for $1 million in awards. Prizes are awarded for basic research, global good, and innovation.

Shroff attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. He has been a lab assistant for the past two years under the mentorship of John Choy, assistant professor of biology. His research project investigated the relationship between the key protein associated with Huntington’s disease and genetic instability in affected neurons.

“It is a testament to Kunal's talent, work ethic, commitment to science, and to all of his teachers that worked hard to nurture his intellect and to challenge him to reach his fullest potential,” said Choy. “It was a pleasure having Kunal in my lab and to see him grow in the last two years as a scientist, culminating with the Intel Award, has been exciting and gratifying.”

High school seniors from 38 schools in 18 states competed in 18 different categories. Students were judged on their research projects at the National Geographic Society from March 10 to 14 where they presented their projects to the public and met with national leaders.

This year the Intel Corporation and the Society for Science and the Public celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Intel Science Talent Search. The competition is the country’s oldest pre-college science and math competition.