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Article and photos by Jared Story
A trio of Grant Park High School geniuses
are taking their great ideas to the nation’s capital.
Grade 12 student Jacob Harvey and Grade 8
students Mark Yanovski and Lev Hochman will participate in the Canada-Wide
Science Fair – May 12 to 19 in Ottawa – showcasing their projects alongside 500
student scientists from across the country.
Harvey, Yanovski and Hochman punched their
tickets to Ottawa after winning at the Winnipeg Schools’ Science Fair on April
11 at the University of Manitoba’s Brodie Centre.
Harvey won Most Outstanding Senior Project
for his project Plastic to Bioplastic: Polyethylene
Terephthalate Upcycling. Harvey has been researching PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates)
in the U of M’s Biosystems Engineering lab for the last four years.
“PHAs are basically biodegradable plastics.
They have similar properties to conventional petroleum-based plastics but
they’re biodegradable,” Harvey said.
“My research has been aimed generally at
reducing that cost, looking at making these plastics more commercially viable
so they can actually replace conventional plastics. This year was aimed
specifically at seeing if this specific bacterium, which is what produces these
PHAs, would be able to take plastic waste and be able to convert it into this
“With this project you’re basically looking
at bioremediation. It’s one thing to get rid of the plastic that is currently
out there and it’s another thing to come up with a replacement, but if you can
do both at once, that is even better.”
Yanovski and Hochman won Most Outstanding
Junior Project for their project, Wound Infection, Thermal Detection.
“Our project was about detecting whether
thermal images can detect infections at a faster rate than standardized
methods,” Yanovski said.
“Heat, due to the increased amount of blood
flow to an injury, can be visualized. It’s one of the first symptoms actually,”
“If we could utilize that it would allow
for quicker treatment and diagnosis, which would mean many benefits for the
hospital, like reduced cost of care, reduced patient stay, clearing more space
for the hospital, allowing for more efficiency and more people to be treated,
and of course earlier treatment preventing diseases such as necrotizing
fasciitis, and finally for the patient to be sent home to their families.”
In addition to the Canada-Wide Science
Fair, Harvey will be competing in the Sanofi Biogenius Canada National
Competition, May 7 to 9 in Toronto.