James Meixiong, Lakeside High School, Evans, Georgia
Region 6 Silver Medal Winner
Inhibition of Bax/Bak Activation by Mitochondrial Fusion: A Novel Mechanism to Block Programmed Cell Death
Mr. Meixiong's Biochemistry research took several approaches to address how the structure of mitochondria influences the activity of two proteins, Bax and Bak. The long term goals of his research are to fully comprehend the complex integrated pathways that lead to apoptosis, or programmed cell death, with the hope that small molecule therapeutics could be designed to control apoptosis in diseased cells. Mr. Meixiong used three different, technically challenging approaches and observed results consistent with his hypothesis in each case, ultimately creating a shift in the way we think about controlling cell death for diseases such as Parkinson's, Muscular Dystrophy, and cancer. His mentors for this project are Dr. Craig Brooks, Postdoctoral Fellow, and Dr. Zheng Dong, Professor at the Medical College of Georgia.
Mr. Meixiong is the Team Captain of his school's Science Bowl and the Olympiad Teams. His team won the Department of Energy's Regional Science Bowl Competition in April 2008. Mr. Meixiong has won numerous medals at the State Science Olympiad Tournaments, including a first place in Ecology and a fourth place in Fermi questions. He heard about the Siemens Competition after a friend was named a Regional Finalist last year. He is a member of a volunteer organization called United Student Action, the Varsity Debate Team and the Varsity Swim Team. He has been swimming year round since the age of eight and is a member of Aiken Augusta Swim League. Mr. Meixiong has also volunteered his summers at the University Hospital of Augusta, Georgia. He is fluent in Chinese. Both of his parents are research scientists at the Medical College of Georgia.