Two Smithtown Students Named In 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search
Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 10:51PM
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Two science-researchers from Smithtown Central School District are among the 53 Long Island students who have been named scholars in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest high school competition in the math and sciences. The top 300 science research students nationwide were chosen for this honor.

Smithtown High School East senior Anthony D’Amore was recognized for his research, “Habitat Preference Drives Brain Shape in Crocodylomorphs” while Smithtown High School West’s Alexander Rodriguez was honored for his research on “A Genomic and Pharmacological Analysis of Adenosine Receptors in the Sea Anemone Nematostella vectensis.”

From left: Smithtown High School East science research coordinator Maria Zeitlin, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Anthony D’Amore and Smithtown High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons.D’Amore used a novel approach for mapping the endocranial structures within both extinct and extant crocodylomorphs. Mentored by Dr. Alan Turner at Stony Brook University, D’Amore worked on par with graduate students to analyze anatomical evolutionary trends by using digital software to provide a novel approach of modeling brain cavities.  

“Anthony spent untold hours mapping structures, analyzing subtle changes of brain shape over evolutionary time, and connecting the information to habitat preferences of both modern crocs as well as extinct species,” said Maria Zeitlin, Smithtown High School East science research coordinator. 

From left: Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Alexander Rodriguez and Smithtown High School West Dr. Joanne Figueiredo.Rodriguez’s work is the first to show that the tiny sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, possesses functional purinergic receptors. These receptors are important because they are involved in physiologic functions such as sleep and coronary regulation. Rodriguez focused on analyzing the genomic and pharmacological properties of purinergic receptors in this basil organism. He hopes that his work will lead to a better understanding of the evolution of these receptors. Rodriguez has been working on his project since his sophomore year in the in-house science research lab at West. HSW: From left: Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady, Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar Alexander Rodriguez and Smithtown High School West Dr. Joanne Figueiredo.

 Photos courtesy of Smithtown Central School District

Article originally appeared on Smithtown Matters - Online Local News about Smithtown, Kings Park, St James, Nesconset, Commack, Hauppauge, Ft. Salonga (http://www.smithtownmatters.com/).
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