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Kelly Zhang, 17, of Orinda, submitted a bioengineering project to the Intel Science Talent Search in which she developed a method for selectively staining cancer cells with fluorescent dyes to help surgeons visualize tumor margins. Kelly adapted nanotechnology concepts used in drug delivery techniques to develop a nano-scale imaging agent, taken up by cells, that is derived from a combination of albumin, a water-soluble protein, and fluorescent dye. She incubated a variety of cell lines with her stain, observing that tumor cells were more luminous than healthy cells. Kelly believes her study will contribute to the improvement of cancer imaging techniques for surgeons resecting tumors. At The College Preparatory School in Oakland, she is editor-in-chief of the yearbook and student council treasurer. She competes in debate, varsity cross country and varsity swimming. She is a pianist, violinist and self-taught guitarist, a youth group leader and a volunteer at rescue missions. Kelly has created a biotech video website to bring lab experiences to high school students who haven’t yet had that exposure. She reads, writes and speaks Mandarin Chinese and is the daughter of Dongxiao Zhang and Yang Sun.
Learn about more Intel STS 2013 finalists.
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