High School Student from Georgia Named Overall Winner of International BioGENEius Challenge

Students from Maine and California named High Honors

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Shreya Ramesh (12th Grade, Milton High School, Milton, GA) was named the overall winner of the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in biotechnology. Judged by industry and academic experts, Shreya’s research using machine learning to distinguish early auditory biomarkers for the diagnosis of ALS and Parkinson’s illustrates this generation’s ingenuity in exploring multi-faceted approaches to solving unmet needs in healthcare. Her work stood out among the innovative research programs of her fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Shreya will receive a cash prize of $7,500.

“Every year, we are incredibly impressed with all of the talented young people who compete in the BioGENEius Challenge. This year’s winner, Shreya Ramesh, especially impressed us with her innovative thinking and spirit of tenacity, curiosity, and passion for humanity that leads to major breakthroughs in human health,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson. “We are pleased to provide support to the Biotechnology Institute and the BioGENEius Challenge, and we hope to fuel young scientists like Shreya and all of the BioGENEius participants by expanding our commitment to champion scientific innovation across all ages and cultures.”

Ijeoma Obi (12th Grade, Bangor High School, Bangor, ME) and Shreya Ramachandran (11th Grade, American High School, Fremont, CA) were recognized with High Honors for their research. Ijeoma utilized a novel molecular design for the pharmacological modification of ion channel function and Shreya’s research on soap nut “grey water” and soil microbiomes showed us how to rethink our use of precious water resources, natural sourcing, and sustainable solutions to otherwise damaging practices to the environment.

The winner and honor finalists were highlighted today at the Biotechnology Institute’s BioGENEius and Gene Pool Challenges sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and BIO. The International BioGENEius Challenge and Gene Pool, a fast paced, fast pitch competition allow students the unique opportunity of attending BIO Digital 2020, the premier biotechnology industry conference, which helps them gain valuable insights from leading biotech companies, scientists, leaders and innovators.

“We could not be more inspired by this year’s International BioGENEius Challenge winner and those receiving highest honors. They represent the next generation of innovative scientists working today on solving some of the most pressing global health, sustainability and environmental crises in the years to come,” said Dr. Larry Mahan, President of the Biotechnology Institute. “We are especially proud that young women of broad cultural and ethnic diversity represent just over 50% of our finalists historically – significant to our effort to advance women in STEM.”

Students were assessed on the quality of their research, presentation skills and the ability to handle challenging questions regarding their research, scientific knowledge and on the potential commercial and practical applications of their project.

The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based non-profit organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous support of the Institute and its programs come from Johnson & Johnson and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit www.biotechinstitute.org.


Quinta Jackson

Biotechnology Institute