Science Fair winner Caden Traversari (left) and Science Department Chair , Scott Stein.

by Peter Elliott

Caden Traversari, a junior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, earned a spot to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the largest pre-college science competition in the world. The fair will be held in Phoenix, Arizona this coming May.

Traversari will be one of 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries to compete. The competition is highly selective – only 1% of all high school students are selected to compete. These 1,800 students will compete for more than $4 million in multiple prizes.

Traversari’s research on microbiology recently won her Best of Fair in the Delaware Valley Science Fair, while also winning first in the microbiology category. More specifically, her research explored the effect of endocytosis altering substances on vacuole formation in tetrahymena, a single-celled organism, by comparing two medications and analyzing them for any undocumented side effects.

Her research found that statin cholesterol medications and DMSO, a commonly used ingredient in topical antibiotics, both drastically altered the cell’s ability to engulf materials. Her findings suggest that these alterations highlight that we do not fully understand all the side effects medication has on people.

In addition to her awards from the Delaware Valley Science Fair, Traversari has also earned a first-place cash award from the Society of In-Vitro Biology, along with scholarships worth over $32,000 from both the University of the Sciences and Drexel University.

Local intern Peter Elliott is a journalism student at La Salle University.