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Keri Williams

Location: Merritt, BC

Award: Young Canadians


Year: 2005


2, 3, 7, 8 Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin: Targeting Toxins

News Release

Merritt and Vancouver region students earn Manning Innovation Awards at Canada-wide science fair

VANCOUVER, BC —(May 20, 2005) Grade 12 students Keri Williams, from Merritt Secondary School, and Janet Frielich from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in Vancouver walked away with Manning Innovation Awards as part of their recognition cache for their projects at the Canada Wide Science Fair, which concludes Saturday at the University of British Columbia (Student Recreation Centre).

The Canada Wide Science Fair is the annual culmination of science fairs held in 100 communities across Canada involving more than 25,000 students in grades 7 to 12. This year's Fair, the largest to date, involved 478 students discussing 384 projects.

This is the second year that Keri Williams is honoured for her continued cancer-related research, Targeting Toxins, which investigated the destructive biological chain of reaction that occurs within the human body after exposure to 2,3,7,8 Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which has been identified as a ubiquitous toxin in the environment. Keri's research determined that it is possible to inhibit the toxic biological effects induced by TCDD. She also developed proactive strategies focusing on diet, supplements and lifestyle choices to reduce or eliminate intake of dioxins and developed a manual that will help those in the medical field better understand, treat and research the impact of TCDD.

In addition to the $4,500 Manning Young Canadian Innovator Award, which includes a trip to the national Manning Awards ceremony in Winnipeg September 30, and the opportunity to attend the Canadian Science Writers Conference mid-June in Jasper, Alberta, Keri received Honourable Mention in the Biotechnology Division, and the opportunity to spend one month in Israel to attend the Wiezmann Institute summer camp.

Janet Frielich received a $500 Manning Achievement Award for her project which focused on developing a system to measure the growth rate of cells in culture. Janet demonstrated a correlation between chemiluminescence and the growth rate of cells. Chemiluminesence is produced as oxygen radicals are metabolized --- emitting energy in the form of light as the oxygen radicals move from a high to low energy state.

While the primary practical application of this research would be as a system for timely and more efficient measurement of cell growth, Janet believes this research could lead to a method to better differentiate between cancer cells and normal cells, as well as to determine the effectiveness of drugs designed to affect the metabolic activity of cells.

Additional awards for Janet included $1500 and the Life Sciences Division Gold Medal, and $2000 scholarships to both University of Western Ontario and University of British Columbia.

This is the 14th year that the Manning Awards Foundation has supported the Canada Wide Science Fair, recognizing the innovations of more than 70 bright minds at the high school level.

Don Park, Executive Director, Manning Awards