A Sands Point teenager was among a select group of students from across the nation chosen to conduct biochemistry research at Purdue University as part of The Summer Science Program, an immersive pre-college research experience.
Caroline Katz, a senior at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, spent 40 days using wet lab techniques and modeling software to study an enzyme from a fungal pathogen and design a small molecule inhibitor to help protect crops from that fungus.
“I’ve been exposed to high school research, but I wanted to take it to the next level and experience college-level research,” said Katz, 16.
Katz specifically researched Rhizoctonia solani, a pathogen that affects a wide variety of crops, and used lab techniques including nickel chromatography and dialysis. Participants also wrote reports that will be published in the Purdue University Research Repository.
The Summer Science Program, a nonprofit established in 1959, operates in cooperation with the California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Mexico Institute of Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Two dozen students were selected to do research at Purdue during the summer.
Katz’s other achievements include being a semifinalist in the 2016 Siemens Competition and an annual participant in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She also mitigated forest fires in Colorado last year through the American Jewish Society for Service.
In addition, she is in five honor societies, is managing editor of her school’s newspaper and is vice president of the mock trial club.