Abington junior wins state in Google Science Fair

ABINGTON, Pa. (WPVI) -- An Abington Senior High School junior won the top spot for Pennsylvania in the prestigious Google Science Fair.

Sofiya Lysenko is one of 33 students selected in North and South America and is waiting to see how she places in the global competition.

Her submission in the robotics category concentrates on finding a better way to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

"I had programmed a DNA nanorobot that's capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and classifying four different types of brain cells," explained Lysenko .

If this sounds complicated to you, you're not alone. Boiled down, her idea would make treatment less invasive, more targeted, and more cost-effective, than current options.

"With the DNA molecules and the DNA robots, we can actually encapsulate the medication within them, and they're much more receptive to the blood brain barrier so we can have a very specific concentration," Lysenko said.

Lysenko started researching her submission a year ago.

Abington Science teacher William Anderson said Lysenko tapped into academic resources at the school, but also looked to a larger network of experts.

"She was working with scientists from Cal Tech, from U of Penn, from MIT," noted Anderson.

Lysenko is beginning to look at colleges and plans to get a PhD.

"In the future, I'd like to lead a research group looking to establish startups or businesses," Lysenko said.

Anderson added, "She's got a plan in her mind or at least a goal, and she's not going to stop at anything to reach that goal."
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