Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) has seen Monaghan student Louis Madden awarded two prizes for his DNA proposal.
Intel ISEF’s Arizona awards show had an Irish feel to proceedings, with two Irish students, from Monaghan and Balbriggan, among the 1,700 competitors in a competition with $4m worth of prizes on offer.
Better still, Louis Madden, from Clones, took two of the prizes on offer. Madden bagged a full fellowship to the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy, as well as a $1,000 prize from Monsanto.
— SciFest (@SciFest4STEM) May 13, 2016
His presentation, called Bringing genetics to the masses: the development of a low-cost DNA extraction and profiling kit,’ had already landed plenty of plaudits in Ireland before he headed to the US earlier this week.
Madden hypothesises that genetic testing and DNA research – which he says have numerous essential applications that are being neglected due to prohibitive costs – can be carried out simply, efficiently and cheaply.
Using cheap and recycled materials, Madden built a vortex, a spectrophotometer, a centrifuge, a PCR (polymerase chain reaction technology), a transilluminator, a gel box with power supply, and a gel camera. Total cost? Less than $200.
He was among three Irish students included in the global Google Science Fair last summer, before being named the overall winner of the all-island science competition, SciFest 2015.
The second Irish student over at Intel ISEF was Lauren Murphy, from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan. She developed a tangible aid to encourage greater hand dexterity for sufferers of multiple sclerosis.
Murphy went to a DCU hackathon and met with engineers, as well as the company Nuwave Ventures who were impressed with her concept.
They then developed the tool into a smart device that can give immediate feedback as users perform activities – the sensors are measuring force, range of motion and the number of actions in a given time.
More awards will be announced later on today.
Main fireworks image via Shutterstock