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Nithin Tumma, Intel Science Contestant, Wins $100,000 For His Breast Cancer Research

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An amazing high school senior's research is making waves in the science community this week -- and may impact in the future of cancer treatment. 17-year-old Nithin Tumma has received the first prize of a staggering $100,000 in the Intel Science Talent Search. Talk about a resume-builder.

Chosen out of 1,838 high school seniors, the Port Huron Northern High School student's project focused on the role of molecular pathways in breast cancer. Head judge Dr. Andy Yeager explained that Nithin's research could eventually lead to more fine-tuned therapies in the treatment of the disease.

Having already been accepted to MIT, Cal Tech and Stanford, Tumma plans to use some of his winnings toward a college education.

"College is expensive and $100,000 goes a long way toward that," he said. "Sometimes good stuff happens."

Setting his sights on a career in computational biology, Nithin could one day join the ranks of former alums of the competition who have won prestigious awards such as Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, and National Medals of Science.

Nithin Tumma isn't the only teen genius making headlines this year. A fellow contestant in the Intel Science Talent Search, Samantha Garvey, was living in a homeless shelter when she got word that she was a semifinalist in the competition for her research on a mussel population.

17-Year-Old Angela Zhang also won $100,000 for her cancer research by the national Siemens science contest. Zhang, who has showed an interest in bioengineering since her freshman year, created a nanoparticle which has the effect of a custom-made cancer medicine.

Teens have also been showing off their flair for science at the White House Science Fair and Google Science Fair. Girls run the world -- of science, that is -- with three American high school females sweeping the 2011 international Google Science Fair, winning in all three age groups back in November. 17-year-old Shree Bose was awarded for her research on how to keep cells from becoming resistant to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Naomi Shah, winner of the 15-16 age group, was selected for her study on the effects of air quality on asthma-ridden lungs. Rounding out the 13-14 age group, Lauren Hodge garnered the top accolade for her research concerning the effect of certain marinades on carcinogen levels of grilled meat.

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