Shan Lateef Earns Neuroscience Research Prize

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Shan Lateef, a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), is one of four high school students in the country selected to receive the annual Neuroscience Research Prize from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the Child Neurology Society. Prior to attending TJHSST, Lateef attended Benton Middle School in Prince William County, where he resides. 

The AAN award recognizes and encourages high school students for contributions to research in the world of the brain and nervous system through laboratory research. Lateef’s prize includes a $1,000 scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip for Lateef and his teacher to attend the annual AAN conference in Philadelphia, where he will present his research. Lateef has also been invited to present his work at the International Brain Injury Conference in Toronto, and at the Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference in Washington, D.C.

The AAN Neuroscience Research Prize recognizes Lateef’s research, completed during his freshman year, on traumatic brain injury, published as “Can Therapeutic Hypothermia Diminish the Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury in Drosophila melanogaster?” This research also earned first place in the TJHSST Science Fair, the Fairfax County Public School Regional Science Fair, a first-place United States Public Health Service Award (his second such award), and publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Lateef has been studying D. melanogaster (fruit fly) since he was a student at Benton, where his siblings currently attend. While at Benton Middle School, Lateef and another student, Delaney Walts, took first place in the “Human and Animal Sciences” category at the Virginia Junior Academy of Science Research Symposium and won the Dorothy Knowlton Award for presenting the best middle school paper in the life sciences. This earlier research, completed with then-Benton Middle School science teacher LaRina Clark, is in the final stages of publication as “Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation and the Antioxidant Curcumin on the Longevity, Fertility, and Physical Structure of Drosophila melanogaster: Can we Defend our DNA?” in the “Journal of Emerging Investigators.” Clark is now an earth science and oceanography teacher at Hylton High School.

During his time at Benton, Lateef also participated in the Cyber Patriot club and the Virginia Junior Academy of Science, in addition to other activities. He received the silver award in the National Spanish Examination, the Geometry Student of the Year Award, the National Junior Honor Society Gold Award, took first place in the Prince William County Math 24 Championship, and his VEX Robotics team took the State Championship. 

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