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Jonah Kallenbach, 17, of Ambler, submitted an Intel Science Talent Search bioinformatics and genomics project that breaks new ground in predicting protein binding for drug therapy. Jonah solved an open problem first posed several years ago about segments in protein chains called "disordered regions" that have inconsistent three-dimensional structures. Jonah's research advanced methods for predicting interactions between disordered regions and their binding partners. He validated his results with proteins coded by the cancer-associated BRCA1 gene. His work may open a new paradigm of drug design in which disordered regions can be used as promising new drug targets, and has already attracted attention from a pharmaceutical company. Jonah attends Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, where he leads the computer science and ethics clubs, edits the school magazine and is a four-year varsity swimmer and water polo player. Jonah is the son of Charles Kallenbach (with whom he ran the Philadelphia half marathon) and Alison Rosenberg, and he cites his grandfather as the "first and last person" he talks to about matters of scientific importance.
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