Samuel Weissman, 17, a senior at Harriton High School, was recently awarded Second Place in the Regeneron Science Talent Search for his research on HIV cells. The award carries with it a $175,000 prize.
Weissman's project analyzed the genetic makeup of HIV in two patients on long-term anti-retroviral therapy to understand why they continued to have "reservoirs" of treatment-resistant HIV-infected cells. Sam's research suggests that HIV-infected cells both clonally expand and are killed, therefore forming a reservoir of infected cells, which expands our understanding of HIV and may impact future treatment approaches.
Weissman is expected to graduate from Harriton this year, completing high school in three years instead of the customary four. He is involved in Science Olympiad, coaches fellow students in writing and interns at a laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. He co-authored a paper on his research that was recently published in Nature Communications.
Harriton High School Principal Scott Weinstein said, "We are extremely proud of Sam for his achievement in this competition. Sam is clearly a talented young scientist. His work ethic and curiosity of learning will help him make significant contributions in the science field. We are equally as proud of Sam's humility and kindness on display in our school community daily. "
The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science & the Public since 1942, is the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Each year, around 2,000 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields.
Program alumni include recipients of the world's most coveted science and math honors, including 11 National Medals of Science, five Breakthrough Prizes, 18 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, two Fields Medals and 13 Nobel Prizes.
For more information on the Student Talent Search, click here.