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Senior Wins International Science Contest

Three Village Central School District’s Ward Melville High School senior Leo Li Takemaru captured the attention of an international audience for his original science research project on HIV proteins that could potentially be used as part of anti-HIV therapies. Leo and his partner, Half Hollow Hills High School West senior Poojan Pandya, earned one of the European Union’s top prizes for young scientists in Sofia, Bulgaria. The students will share one of the four first place prizes of $7,000 euros for their project.

The partner scientists were the only participants in this international science competition to represent the United States. The winners were selected from among 154 promising young scientists aged 14 to 20 from schools in 40 countries, including European schools. Overall, they presented 100 projects at the 31st edition of the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).

 “Leo is emblematic of Ward Melville’s prestigious Science Research Program,” said Ward Melville High School Principal William Bernhard. “As his principal, I would like to congratulate him on this incredible international honor.”

The student’s research explored the role of a specific protein in HIV budding and how that protein may be a viable target for potential antiviral therapeutics because it is not present in the majority of adult human organs. The research mentor for the project was Feng-Qian Li, an associate professor of research in the pharmacology department at Stony Brook University.

Photo caption: Ward Melville High School senior (right) Leo Li Takemaru and his partner (left) Poojan Pandya captured the attention of an international audience for his original science research project on HIV proteins that could potentially be used as part of anti-HIV therapies.

Photo courtesy of the Three Village Central School District 

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