Ryan Wang has recently graduated from St. John’s-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has had a keen interest in science for as long as he could remember. Ryan has only started participating in science fairs during his final year of high school, but despite the late start, he says it was a very extraordinary and rewarding experience.
Ryan’s 2014 project was titled “Identification and Functional Properties of Phosphorylation Sites on Scleraxis.” It may be a very complicated title, but the project has large potential. Ryan investigated how a protein called scleraxis was involved in a widespread disease known as cardiac fibrosis, a pathological condition of the heart where the muscles stiffen due to a build-up of collagen. This occurs after the heart attempts to recover from a major traumatic event such as a heart attack. The stiffened muscle impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively around the body and can eventually lead to heart failure and even death. Despite its prevalence in millions of patients worldwide, there are currently no treatments that are available to treat or even attenuate fibrosis. Through his research, Ryan has identified a mechanism to control scleraxis’ ability to activate genes that cause fibrosis through a common protein modification process called phosphorylation. With the results from this project, a possible therapeutic could eventually be developed to treat cardiac fibrosis.
This impressive project earned Ryan a gold medal and an award for the Best Senior Level Individual Biological Sciences Project at the regional science fair, the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium, and earned him a spot to attend the 2014 Canada-Wide Science Fair where he won a bronze medal. In addition to these accolades, Ryan won first place in Manitoba and an award for the best genomics project at the regional Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge and also had the opportunity to compete in the National Sanofi BioGENEius Competition which took place in Ottawa, where he got fourth place in Canada for his work. Very outstanding achievements for his first year participating in science fair!
In his school, Ryan is actively involved in science and math. Not only has he excelled in science fair, but he also consistently ranks with the top students in the University of Waterloo mathematics contests and also chemistry and physics contests. Besides academics, Ryan participates in his school’s concert and jazz bands, the school Rock Show, and the school’s badminton team and club. He is also a school student ambassador and a tutor.
Ryan graduated at the top of his class and received the Governor General’s Bronze Medal for achieving the highest overall average in his graduating class. He also received numerous awards and scholarships for his academics and participation in school and extracurricular activities.
Outside of school, Ryan plays badminton and has completed his ARCT in Piano Performance. He also commits some of his free time volunteering at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, the Victoria General Hospital, and a food bank called Winnipeg Harvest. Ryan also enjoys biking and hanging out with his friends.
Ryan will now be attending the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Science where he will be pursuing a general science degree. He hopes to continue his research and eventually enter medical school to become a surgeon.
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