Sruthi Sridevan has been motivated by a relative's death to pursue a career in science.

The senior at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson lost her grandmother to bladder cancer in 2004. Since then, she has actively pursued science research in an effort to help develop a treatment that will alleviate or cure cancer.

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Last summer, she spent two months interning in cancer and neonatal labs at Stony Brook University. Her neonatal work explored inflammation of membranes surrounding a fetus, while her cancer research focused on a class of molecules called sphingolipids and their activity when metabolized.

"Becoming a research assistant was something that I really wanted, especially since I knew the following summer would be spent preparing for college," said Sridevan, 17.

Of her passion for science, she said: "My parents drove me to start reading science magazines and journals . . . But my grandmother's death was my main stimulus."

Her other involvements include being a member of her school's Science Olympiad team and attending a biotechnology summer camp a few years ago at Stony Brook.

Sridevan also has volunteered in Stony Brook University Medical Center's radiology department.