Lower Merion High School junior Ishana Baboo placed second in the Health and Medicine category at the Montgomery County Science Research Competition and went on to compete virtually in the regional competition, where she placed third.
As a result, she was awarded a scholarship to the University of the Sciences. Ordinarily, she would go on to the International Science and Engineering Fair, but that competition was canceled this year due to the pandemic.
The title of Baboo's project is "In Vitro evaluation of DNA-encoded anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies for treatment of Hypercholesterolemia."
Because cardiovascular heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, in this project, she evaluated a new treatment to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels by targeting antibodies that metabolize LDL cholesterol. Her trials were performed in vitro assays and were successful enough to demonstrate that the antibodies are now ready for evaluation in in vivo animal studies.