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Raghav Tripathi, 17, of Portland, sought drug targets that could yield new pain relievers for the biochemistry project he entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. He focused on a fatty acid naturally produced in the body, known as anandamide (AEA), which, at elevated levels, has painkilling effects similar to cannabinoids, but without many of their side effects. AEA is transported to degradation, however, by fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs), a process Raghav worked to inhibit. Using computational analysis, he virtually screened over a million molecules for binding affinity to FABP, identified the one with the greatest affinity, and from that synthesized an optimized compound with even more FABP inhibition. He believes his work may contribute to the next generation of innovative analgesic medications. At Westview High School, Raghav plays varsity tennis, captains the speech and debate team and plays clarinet (first chair) in the concert band. He also plays with the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and is an Eagle Scout with a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. He is a Best of Category Intel International Science and Engineering Fair award winner and his research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals. Raghav is the son of Sharad and Sunita Tripathi.
Learn about more Intel STS 2013 finalists.
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