WASHINGTON -- A 17-year-old from New York City won a leading science competition for high school students yesterday for research that helps explain how the brain works.
Yin Li, a senior at Stuyvesant High School, emerged ahead of five other students to win the 2003-04 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Li, who plans to study neurobiology and molecular biology in college, won a $100,000 scholarship.
He discovered a protein with properties that could be related to neural function, and his work explores how protein synthesis may govern the strength of connections between neurons.
"Through creative and original research, this young scientist has increased our understanding of how the brain works on the most fundamental level," said judge Victor Ambros, professor of genetics at Dartmouth Medical School.
Two brothers, Mark and Jeffrey Schneider of South Windsor, Conn., won in the team category for a project that has the potential to help reduce the spread of West Nile Virus. The two will split a $100,000 scholarship.
Other finalists won $50,000 to $10,000 in scholarships. Team members share the awards.
The New Jersey-based Siemens Foundation, founded in 1998, aims to increase access to higher education among gifted students studying math, science and technology. The foundation distributes more than $1 million annually in scholarships, grants and awards.