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Written by:  Beth Shugg
Date: May 1, 2013

Thanks to a genetic scientific discovery, William Ge, a 17-year-old senior from Raleigh who attends the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, was chosen as a semifinalist in both the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search and Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Ge also placed first at the 2013 regional N.C. Science and Engineering Fair — third in his division at the state level — and spent last summer as an intern at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Clinical Research Program.

Ge's science project centered around a gene variant called APOE4, found in about 20 percent of all people and proven to be a risk factor for Alzheimer's and other related disorders, such as sepsis. Ge discovered that people who have the APOE4 gene variant also tend to inflame nearly twice as much as everyone else, which may offer an explanation for why the gene is a risk factor for Alzheimer's and related diseases.

Ge explained in an email that his work "presented a high-risk group for inflammatory disorders, which we may need to monitor for preemptive monitoring/treatment, and also provided a potential target for treating these disorders."

For the Intel and Siemens competitions, high school students submit original research papers, and 300 semi-finalists are selected from a pool of about 2,000. Intel semifinalists receive a $1,000  cash award, as do their schools. Learn more about both competitions at society forscience.org/sts and siemens-foundation.org/en/competition.htm.



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