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Suffolk: Stony Brook School wins Protein Modeling Challenge

The Stony Brook School’s team — from left,

The Stony Brook School’s team — from left, Zhejian Chen, Hyunseok Park and Chi Ying Ho — took first place last month in the 2014 Protein Modeling Challenge at Stony Brook University on Feb. 28, 2014. Credit: Stony Brook University

Three students from The Stony Brook School took top honors in the 2014 Protein Modeling Challenge at Stony Brook University.

Zhejian Chen, Hyunseok Park and Chi Ying Ho won first place in the competition to build a model illustrating the link between protein structure and function.

"The students were exemplary in their discipline and dedication to the task," said Erol Altug, the winning team's coach, who added that students Kaiwen Wang and Qiqi Wang helped with the project's preparation.

George W. Hewlett High School and Great Neck South High School tied for second, while Farmingdale High School and Wantagh High School tied for third. Longwood High School in Middle Island won the People's Choice Award, which was chosen by students.

"Many of the students will study science in college, and this gives them an opportunity to learn about current research and areas of study," Longwood coach Barbara Ann-Kulik said.

This year's challenge was to research and create a model of the Ras protein, which causes cancer if it mutates, Stony Brook University officials said. Teams also took a test on the day of the competition about their protein knowledge.

Twenty-eight teams participated. Models were judged for accuracy by scientists from Stony Brook University as well as Applied DNA Sciences and CoFeron -- two biotechnology companies based in Stony Brook.



New principal

Robert Haas has been appointed principal of James Wilson Young Middle School, effective July 1. He will replace Susan Haske, who is retiring.

Haas currently is assistant principal of the district's Bayport-Blue Point High School, a position he has held since 2009. He began his career as a social studies teacher in the district in 2001 and also has been a social studies department chair and administrator in charge of the district's guidance department.



Junior Iron Chef

Sayville Middle School took first place in the middle school division of Junior Iron Chef on Long Island.

The school's team -- Cody Bostinto, Rio Ferreira, Deanna McNally, Dan Novak and Oluwaseun Ogunwale -- prepared a dish of eggplant tacos with cranberry chickpea salad.

The culinary competition last month challenged teams to create healthy recipes. It was coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and Whole Foods Market in Lake Grove, and Whole Foods' staff judged recipes.



Lego League

More than 40 local teams competed in the 10th annual Long Island FIRST Lego League Championship Tournament, held last month at Longwood High School in Middle Island.

Tesla Empire, Team No. 2878 of Bayport, won the competition's Champion's Award and next will compete at the North American Open at Legoland in California on May 16-18.

This year's challenge, titled "Nature's Fury," asked students ages 9-14 to build a robot to complete a natural disaster mission, such as positioning an evacuation sign or clearing a runway. FIRST is an acronym drawn from "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

Suffolk County's other winning teams and their awards were: Chickenators, Team No. 5570 of East Moriches, Zebra Award; Robotics Avengers, Team No. 9600 of Smithtown, Programming Award; Gear Headz, Team No. 5288 of Rocky Point, Research Quality Award; Eagles, Team No. 18146 of Copiague, Innovative Solution Award; Rocky Point Radical Robotix, Team No. 8434, Gracious Professionalism Award; and Tornadoes, Team No. 14684 of Greenlawn, High Energy Award.



Science Fair winners

Twenty-four Long Island students were named finalists in the 2014 Long Island Science & Engineering Fair, held at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Students from 75 schools presented 420 projects.

The finalists will compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.

They are: Scott Massa and Joshua Zweig of Commack High School; Luke Farrell and Sarah Jacobs of Hauppauge High School; Allison Murphy of Sayville High School; Yongpeng Tang of Smithtown High School East; Robert Myrick of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park; Luhong Li and Clara Sava-Segal of Great Neck North High School; Lelina Chang of Great Neck South High School; Ritayan Chakraborty and Justin Lafazan of Syosset High School; Ken Aizawa, Matt Chun, Kanav Gupta, Varsha Venkatesh and Amy Xu of Jericho High School; Jessica Kim, Grace Lee, Caitlin McCormick, Andrew Moshova and Emma Dong of Manhasset High School; Harry Paul of Schreiber High School in Port Washington; and Hannah Stewart of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School.

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