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Toronto sixteen-year-old helps develop possible treatment for cystic fibrosis

A 16-year-old Richmond Hill high school student has made a potentially game-changing discovery in the treatment of debilitating lung disease, cystic fibrosis. Marshall Zhang, an 11th grade student at Bayview Secondary, used the supercomputer system Canadian SCINET to figure out how certain drugs react with proteins associated with cystic fibrosis. As reported by DailyTech.com, Zang's discovery earned him a first place award at the 2011 Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge, a national science fair where students conduct research projects with mentors.

"Zhang grew interested in disease-related research after taking Advanced Placement Biology in the 10th grade. He wanted to work in a laboratory with real scientists, so he started getting in touch with local professors to see if he could participate in their research labs."

"While many biochemistry professors at the University of Toronto rejected Zhang's idea due to his lack of experience, Dr. Christine Bear, a researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children's Research Institute in Toronto, welcomed him to her lab."

"While working at Bear's lab, Zhang utilized the Canadian SCINET supercomputing network to see how new compounds reacted to the proteins associated with cystic fibrosis. Through a series of computer simulations, he found that a combination of different drugs could be used simultaneously without impacting one another to treat cystic fibrosis. In fact, these findings were tested on living cells proved to be effective."

"I have identified certain chemical structures that are key in the corrective effects of these molecules, as well as identified two molecular targets on the protein for future therapeutics," said Zhang."

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original source DailyTech.com

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