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2004 Aventis International BioGENEius Challenge Announces Winner

10/19/2005 5:11:42 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Aventis, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, and the Biotechnology Institute today announced the winner of the 2004 Aventis International BioGENEius Challenge. Shamsher Singh Samra from Fresno, Calif., an 18-year-old at Clovis West High School, won the $7,500 first place award for his biotechnology project "Characterization of Mus81/Mms4's Role in Homologous DNA Repair During S-Phase Mitotic Cellular Division."

The top prize was awarded at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) 2004 International Convention at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson awarded the prize to Samra and the top three out of 13 student teams from across the United States and Canada who competed over the weekend.

Since the competition's inception in 1994, Aventis has supported the prestigious BioGENEius Challenge. Under the direction of the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education, the BioGENEius awards are given annually to high school students who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects.

The other finalists were: Second Place: $5,000 Srilakshmi M. Raj Lexington High School Lexington, Mass. Project Title: "Linkage Disequilibria and Haplotype Structure of Four SNPs of the Interleukin-1 Gene Cluster in Seven South Asian Populations" Third Place: $2,500 Paul Ryu Pacific Grove High School Pacific Grove, Calif. Project Title: "An Algorithmic Approach to DNA-Based Data Storage and Error Correction" Honorable Mention: $1,000 Jud Kilbourn Desert Mountain High School Scottsdale, Ariz. Project Title: "Molecular Analysis of Alpha B-Crystallin in Human Malignant Glioma Cell Populations"

The other competitors were: Sharon Lum, Leanne Ta and Kawakahi Amina (Honolulu), Ashwin Mudaliar (San Diego), Edith Adriana Pierre-Jerome (Spring Valley, Calif.), Suravi Sircar (Richmond, Va.), Charles Tran (Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA), Kaitlyn Le and Bethany Stackhouse (Salt Lake City), Christina Kwong (Phoenix, Ariz.), Dean Thongkham (Mesa, Ariz.) and Yen Yeh (Avondale, Ariz.)

High school students competed in regional competitions held in numerous cities in the United States and Canada, resulting in 13 teams that competed for cash prizes and recognition at the 2004 Aventis International BioGENEius Challenge.

"Aventis is committed to recognizing and rewarding young people with an interest in pursuing biotechnology's incredible potential," said Dr. Allan Jarvis, senior vice president, Corporate Development, Aventis Pasteur. "Our ability to meet society's growing needs depends upon a highly skilled workforce. Programs such as the Aventis International BioGENEius Challenge encourage the development of future scientific leaders whose contributions will be essential to ensuring the realization of that potential."

The BioGENEius Challenge was judged by some of the leading names in the field, including Dr. Paul Berg, Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Ellen Weaver, past president of the Association of Women in Science, Mark McDade, CEO of Protein Design Labs and First Lady of Iowa Christie Vilsack, a former 8th grade teacher and biotechnology supporter.

NOTE: All students will display their research to attendees of the BIO 2004 Annual International Convention on Monday, June 7 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Moscone Convention Center, West Building, Lobby Level 2.

About Aventis

Aventis is dedicated to treating and preventing disease by discovering and developing innovative prescription drugs and human vaccines. In 2003, Aventis generated sales of EUR 16.79 billion (US $18.99), invested EUR 2.86 billion (US $3.75) in research and development and employed approximately 69,000 people in its core business. Aventis corporate headquarters are in Strasbourg, France. The company's prescription drugs business is conducted in the U.S. by Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The vaccines business, Aventis Pasteur, is based in Lyon, France, with U.S. headquarters in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit:, and

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute ( was founded in 1998, as 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 about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems.

About Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

Contact: Jennifer Moire The Biotechnology Institute Phone: 703-248-8681 Cell: 952-240-4010 E-mail:

Aventis; Biotechnology Institute

CONTACT: Jennifer Moire of The Biotechnology Institute, +1-703-248-8681,or cell, +1-952-240-4010, or

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