Indian-American students bag Regeneron ISEF 2024 awards

Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2024 is the world’s largest pre-college science competition.

Krish Pai and Tanishka Aglave. / Society for Science

Indian-American students were among the winners of the prestigious Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2024. Student winners, ranging from ninth through twelfth graders, earned the right to compete at Regeneron ISEF 2024 by winning top prizes at local, regional, state, or national science fairs.

Krish Pai, 17, of Del Mar, California, received the second Regeneron Young Scientist Award of $50,000. Pai developed Microby software using machine learning to identify microbial genetic sequences that can be modified to biodegrade plastic. In tests, his software identified two microorganisms whose modified sequences could degrade plastic at a cost he believes could be 10 times less than traditional recycling.

Other top honors from the competition include Tanishka Balaji Aglave, 15, and Ria Kamat, 17.

Aglave, from Valrico, Florida, received the H Robert Horvitz Prize for Fundamental Research of $10,000 for her work on a natural treatment for citrus greening, a disease that threatens citrus farming globally and is currently treated only with antibiotics. A Strawberry Crest High School student, Aglave’s method involves injecting infected trees with an extract from the curry leaf tree, which has the potential to sustainably manage the disease.

Kamat, from Hackensack, New Jersey, received the Dudley R Herschbach SIYSS Award of $5,000. She was recognized for her research on controlling the spread of osteosarcoma, a primary bone tumor. Her work focused on addressing imbalances in bone growth that could lead to cancer.

Nikhil Vemuri of North Carolina bagged $5,000 for his work with mitigating agricultural nitrous oxide emissions. Shobhit Agarwal from Texas won $2,000 for his self-supervised quantum machine learning approach to automated real-time prediction over multiple domains.

Karun Kulamavalavan from New York, Neel Ahuja from New Jersey, Atreya Manaswi from Florida and Abhishek Shah from North Carolina won $2,000 each. Medha Pappula from Virginia also bagged $2,000 for her efforts in early diagnosis of pediatric ADHD. 

“Congratulations to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2024 winners," said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science. "I'm truly inspired by the ingenuity and determination shown by these remarkable students. Coming from around the world with diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines, these students have shown that it is possible to come together in unity to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing our world today, and I could not be prouder."