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Spencer Hughes

Location: Timmins, ON

Award: Young Canadians

Category:

Year: 2003

Innovation:

LED2 Mining

News Release

Ontario Science students sweep six Manning Innovator Awards at nationals

CALGARY, Alberta (May 16, 2003) - Six students from across Ontario swept major and minor recognition awards for innovative science projects in the Canada Wide Science Fair which wraps up Saturday at the Olympic Oval on the campus of The University of Calgary.

Four of the six students each received $4,500 in cash from the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation and will attend the annual national Manning Awards program to be held this Fall in a yet-to-be identified location in Canada. Two others received $500 cash prizes. The Manning Awards are sponsored by Petro-Canada and Encana Corporation.

"These young Canadians have clearly demonstrated an innovative capability. It is important to receive recognition for their accomplishments to date and more importantly, the encouragement to pursue their interests," said Manning Foundation executive Director Don Park. He said this is the 12th year that the Foundation has been part of the CWSF, adding he is proud to be able to track some of the significant contributions that earlier winners are now making to Canadian society. The Manning Awards are co-sponsored by Encana Corporation and Petro Canada. The winners are high school students from Crysler/Morrisburg, London, Windsor, Timmins, Amherstburg/Lasalle and Lakefield.

Crysler - Adrian Maler ($4,500) - "We Got Rhythm" was the name of the winning project for this Grade 12 North Dundas High School student. His goal was to simulate the brain's 'time-keeper' (circadian clock) using mathematical equations. The model accurately replicated circadian behaviour and made predictions of the effects of certain drugs on the clock. "This has many applications in medicine and in industry, especially concerning shift work, jet lag and the use of tranquilizer drugs," explained Adrian. He also won the Gold Medal and $1500 and Gold Medal for the Computing and Math Sciences Division, $500 from the Canadian Math Society and a scholarship choice to attend the University of Western Ontario or the University of Saskatchewan.

Windsor - Ildiko Beres ($4,500) - This OAC student from Kennedy High School earned her award for her 'Go Green' project. "I developed a bacterial bioreporting system for the detection of heavy metal ion contamination. It was engineered by plasmid construction, using green fluorescent protein and a metal sensitive metallothionen promoter. The behaviour of the reconstructed plasmid was tested using heavy metal ions. Some applications for this system include testing of contaminated water and waste sites," explained Ildiko. She also qualifies to compete further for a trip to the Stockholm Water Conference later this year.

London - Kara Barfett ($4,500) - Attending OAC at St. Thomas Aquinas, Kara's project focused on artificial cells as a feed additive for pollution control in aquaculture. "My fish feed additive converts ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate into harmless byproducts using Nitrosomonas europa, Paracoccus dentrificans and Nitrobacter winogradskyi immobilized in calcium alginate and pectin artificial cells. The resulting bio-filter innovation outperforms technologies used in the aquaculture industry, at a lower price and is a solution to global hunger and pollution," explained Kara. She won the Silver Medal and $700 in the Earth and Environmental Science Division, plus $3,000 in two other awards, the right to compete for a trip to the Stockholm Water Conference, and a scholarship to attend University of Western Ontario.

Timmins - Spencer Hughes ($4,500) - The Grade 11 Timmins High student from South Porcupine has a focus on merging technological advances with his entrepreneurial spirit. His research led him to develop a comprehensive innovation that removes pollution, limits subsidence and harvests metals, electricity and heat from flooded underground mines. "This would provide energy for municipal lighting, heating and sewage treatment services and would allow the creation of news businesses in my community," explained Spencer, adding that the application can serve a city, town, business, house or cottage. Spencer also won the Bronze Medal and $300, as well as $2500 in other prizes, plus a scholarship at the University of Western Ontario.

Amherstburg - Gibson Gervais ($500) - A second time winner as a Manning Innovator, Gibson, from Sandwich Secondary, earned his award this year for his work in developing a biomass pretreatment protocol (STEXHAP) --- a process that includes bio-ethanol production and use in bio-refineries. "I designed and constructed a research steam-exploder and then performed pre-commercial experimental trials using wheat straw feedstock," explained Gibson. He has US/PCT patents pending for STEXHAP. His efforts also earned him an extra $2500 in other awards.

Lakefield - Alicia Unrau ($500) - This OAC student from Adam Scott Collegiate investigated the visual field in humans. "I prepared original drawings containing hidden images. These were used to study the processing of the visual field in people. I found that differences exist in scanning patterns, and that certain parts of a visual field are seen and remembered significantly more often. These results should impact on education and advertising," explained Alicia. She also won the Silver Medal and $750 in the Life Sciences Division and a scholarship at the University of Western Ontario.

There were more than 360 projects, involving 466 students and 350 judges in the national CWSF -- the culmination of science fairs that attracted more than 500,000 students across the country.

For more information on the Manning Innovation Awards: www.manningawards.ca.