Carmel students shine on national stage

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Fu, left, and Tan

Months of dedication and hard work paid off last week for two local students named national finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.

Carmel resident Daniel Fu, Park Tudor High School, and Patrick Tan, a junior at Carmel High School, won the $6,000 team scholarship in mathematical analysis of genetic oscillatory networks during the competition Nov. 17 at Notre Dame University.

The pair is now invited to present their work on a national stage at the national finals in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1-4, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board.

“These students have invested time, energy and talent in tackling challenging scientific research at a young age,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation.  “The recognition they have won today demonstrates that engagement in STEM is an investment well worth making.”

Fu and Tan’s project, Chaos and Robustness in a Single Family of Genetic Oscillatory Networks, is an investigation of new techniques for mathematically analyzing genetic oscillatory networks. The team’s research could lead to better treatments for diseases with irregularities in the cell cycle, such as cancer, or the circadian rhythm, such as sleep disorders.  Fu and Tan’s inspiration came from the movie Inception, which explores the mysteries of sleep.

“Daniel and Patrick developed an original technique and made progress in the mathematical understanding of delayed differential equations, which help understand the cyclical biological behavior such as exhibited in sleep and cancer,” said competition judge Dr. Matthew Dyer, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, the University of Notre Dame.  “The team showed creativity in combining pure and applied mathematics and making extensive use of computer calculations.”

Fu is a member of USA Computing Olympiad Silver Division and won fourth place in the American Chemistry Society exam, Indiana section. He is secretary of the student council, editor of his school newspaper and junior editor of the literary art magazine.

Tan is secretary of Key Club, president of Chemistry Club and a member of Top Symphonic Band.  He volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and runs cross country.

The team was mentored by Dr. Alexey Kuznetsov and Dr. Yaroslav Molkov, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

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