Way to Go: Ashley George, researcher

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Ashley George is one of 22 students nationwide recently named a 2012 fellow by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit that supports gifted children. She was awarded a $25,000 college scholarship.

George, a 2012 graduate of Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station and now a freshman at Shepherd University in West Virginia, was selected based on her research to develop a framework for a biosensor that has the unique properties of being flexible, biodegradable and biocompatible.

"It's an extreme honor to win, and I felt really good inside to be recognized for my work," said George, 18. "This took so much effort and dedication."

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George's interest in biosensors began when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago and she learned about a biosensor that could detect the BRCA1 gene. A barrier hindering the application of biosensors outside a lab is the lack of a flexible substrate with low toxicity and high biodegradability, she said. To overcome this, she worked on a biosensor of gelatin and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from crab shells.

At Comsewogue, George was salutatorian and a member of the National, music and French honor societies.

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