Each year, some 2,000 students around the country enter the Regeneron Science Talent Search. And each year, just a few hundred of these high school seniors are named a top 300 scholar. These teenagers represent the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Once again, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is represented within their ranks.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” says Griffin Hon, the latest Regeneron scholar from CSHL’s Partners for the Future (PFF) program. Hon has been studying inflammatory bowel disease alongside CSHL Assistant Professor Semir Beyaz. “The whole lab has been unconditionally helping me. I’m very happy all the work we put in has paid off and is being recognized.”
Hon’s studies focused on two chemicals, Arachidonic acid, found in meats and eggs, and Prostaglandin E2, which comes from fruits and herbs. Using a state-of-the-art technique called single-cell sequencing, Hon analyzed how these molecules help boost stem cells in the intestine. He hopes his findings will help improve dietary guidelines and regenerative medicine.
“You are what you eat,” says Hon. “Your cells replace themselves every few years. Every single atom comes from food you’ve eaten. So, if we change the composition of what we’re eating, maybe we can change our health as well.”
“Making a scientific discovery is a process filled with failures,” notes Beyaz. “Griffin is a very talented student who was able to learn from failures without losing his enthusiasm for science. I’m proud of him!”