Lucy Kim, Nikhil Vicas, and Abhishek Joshi

(From left) UNT TAMS students Lucy Kim, Nikhil Vicas, and Abhishek Joshi photographed in front of the Life Sciences building in Denton, Texas on January 24, 2019. (Ranjani Groth/UNT Photo)

Three seniors from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas were recently named among the top 300 scholars in the 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition.

Eunyoung (Lucy) Kim and Nikhil Vicas, who both went to Coppell High School, along with Abhishek Joshi, who went to Centennial High School in Frisco, will each receive a $2,000 prize. The students were selected from a pool of 1,993 students from 659 high schools across 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and eight other countries. Research submitted for the contest is evaluated by three or more doctoral scientists, mathematicians and/or engineers. Entries are evaluated in four different areas: research report and scientific merit, student contribution to the research, academic aptitude and achievement and overall potential as a future leader in the scientific community.

Participants are allowed to work with a mentor on the project but the research must be original to the student.

Joshi and his mentor, Gauri Joshi of Carnegie Mellon University, who is also his aunt, created an algorithm that uses different statistics to predict which set of numbers will produce the best neural network for use in artificial intelligence. This research will be beneficial to the entire field of AI including applications such image recognition, natural language processing and information filtering systems like those used by computer search engines.

Kim’s research was conducted to better understand nanoparticle cancer treatments. She worked closely with her UNT mentor Denise Perry Simmons in the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical & Energy Engineering to derive a theoretical framework in development of 3D cancer treatment models and is currently working with Yuri Rostovtsev in the Department of Physics to create a mathematical model that can be used to predict the best 3D treatment design.

Vicas worked with his mentor, Arup Neogi of UNT’s Department of Physics, to develop nano-sized sensors (plasmonic metastructures) that will increase clarity in single-molecule imaging technology. These sensors may help researchers find ways to image and detect diseases on an incredibly small scale, as well as develop treatments at the molecular level specific to the patient.

“Early in their academic careers, TAMS students are encouraged to explore STEM subjects and conduct research at a university level,” said TAMS Dean Glenisson de Oliveira. “Lucy, Abhishek and Nikhil are all fine examples of what our students are able to accomplish.”

 

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