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Jacob Paul Smullin Johnson, 17, of Boxborough, entered an Intel Science Talent Search project in bioinformatics and genomics that identified genes that could be targeted in future breast cancer therapies. Jacob analyzed three tumor-suppressor genes in mice, demonstrating that the mouse model has many features that resemble aggressive human breast cancer. By combining bioinformatics techniques and experimental assays, he was able to identify several genes that potentially drive the development of this cancer. Jacob is a co-author on an article published in PLOS Genetics, as well as on four other future publications describing his work, including one paper on which he is the lead author. He is an Eagle Scout. At the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, he is an elected student class leader and participates on the Science Team, which won the 2012 Massachusetts State Science Olympiad. Since 2009, when he started a program to provide long-lasting support to an orphanage in coastal Tanzania, Jacob's grantwriting efforts have secured 110 corporate-funded laptops for the institution. He also led the project to build and ship 20 solar-powered cookers, and he co-wrote a business plan describing a brick-making enterprise for the orphanage. His parents are Mark Johnson and Leslie Smullin Bourne.
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