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Jackson High School senior Sriharshita Musunuri national finalist in 2017 Siemens Competition

Sriharshita Musunuri at 2017 Siemens Competition. Photo courtesy of Siemens.
Sriharshita Musunuri at 2017 Siemens Competition. Photo courtesy of Siemens.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

Jackson High School senior Sriharshita Musunuri received a $25,000 scholarship as one of four national finalists at the 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, which was held in Washington, DC, the week of December 5, 2017.

Musunuri was named as a national finalist at the November 13th Western Regional Siemens Competition where she earned top individual honors and a $3,000 scholarship for her project titled, “Computational and Experimental Design of MIP Nanoparticles: A Novel Theranostic Solution to Detect and Neutralize Endotoxins.”

According to a Siemens press release, “Musunuri’s project addresses a difficult challenge faced in U.S. hospitals every day: gram-negative bacteria that causes sepsis which can cause organ failure in patients, and is the leading cause of death in US hospitals.”

“Sriharshita’s research leads to faster diagnostic testing in clinical settings that could reduce patient deaths from sepsis,” said Dr. Brittany Needham, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. “She approached this problem in a far more comprehensive way than others have and her method was particularly impressive. She figured out a way not only to detect these life-threatening bacteria, she also found a way to help prevent it.”

Musunuri had more than 2,000 competitors who submitted 1,860 projects for this year’s Siemens Competition.

“This year we changed our finalist award structure: first place -- $100,000, second place - $50,000, with all other finalists receiving $25,000,” explained David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Seeing the caliber of projects this year, it was clearly the right decision – reflecting an extraordinarily high level across the board from all our students.”

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