University of Delaware
Delaware's Priyen Patel visited the White House as a national BioGENEius winner.

White House visit

Delaware BioGENEius winner attends White House Science Fair


2:38 p.m., Feb. 8, 2012--The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) has announced that Delaware native Priyen Patel, who won the 2011 U.S. National BioGENEius Media Award, participated in the White House Science Fair held Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Washington, D.C. 

Now in its second year, the Science Fair celebrated winners of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competitions.

Honors Stories

National Medal of Science

President Barack Obama recently presented the National Medal of Science to University of Delaware alumnus Rakesh Jain.

Warren Award

Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the NUCLEUS Program in UD's College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the John Warren Excellence in Leadership and Service Award during a May 26 ceremony.

During the event, President Barack Obama viewed approximately 33 exhibits of winning student projects, ranging from a robot that plays soccer to a smart toilet that conserves water to an innovative approach to treating cancer, and delivered remarks congratulating these students on their desire to invent and discover. 

Patel represented Delaware, DBI and the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge.

“We were very excited and proud to hear that Priyen's skill and passion for biotechnology research led to participation in this important event,” says Kelvin Lee, DBI director and Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

Patel completed a project that focused on filtering ibuprofen and acetaminophen using various water filters to determine the concentration of drugs in drinking water. Patel’s project is titled “Over-the Counter and In Your Water? The Most Effective Filtration of Pharmaceuticals.”

“Oh, my gosh – what an amazing experience,” said Patel. “All the students were able to view each other’s projects, meet a lot of famous people like Bill Nye the Science Guy, and of course meet the president. I got to shake President Obama’s hand, which is something I never expected. He congratulated me and it was the best experience of my life.”

The president hosted the inaugural White House Science Fair in October 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign that aims to move American students from the middle to the top-of-the-pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. 

As Obama noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.” 

Local support for the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge in 2011 was provided by AstraZeneca, and the faculty and staff of DBI.

In 2012, AstraZeneca will again support the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge, along with other companies, as well as the faculty and staff of DBI. 

DBI is currently coordinating the event through partnerships with the New Castle County Science Expo, the Kent County Science Fair and the Sussex County Science Fair. Delaware students in grades nine through 12 conducting biotechnology research can sign up for the BioGENEius Challenge on the Biotechnology Institute website.

Article by Laura Crozier and Abigail Hirsch,
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

News Media Contact

University of Delaware
Communications and Public Affairs

UDaily is produced by
Communications and Public Affairs

The Academy Building
105 East Main Street
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716 | USA
Phone: (302) 831-2792