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."

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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