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Mamaroneck's Emily McCarthy Named Semifinalist In Siemens Competition

 Emily McCarthy.
Emily McCarthy. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Two Westchester County seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2014 Siemens Competition in math, science and technology.

Mamaroneck High School senior Emily McCarthy and Dobbs Ferry High School senior Yiorgos Argyros earned the distinction.

McCarthy, a student in Mamaroneck’s Original Science Research program, completed her project in collaboration with Dobbs Ferry High School senior Yiorgos Argyros in the laboratory at New York Medical College studying the relationship between an important developmental gene (Brd2) and the number of brain cells producing the neurotransmitter GABA in mice predisposed to seizures.

Results of their project, titled "Brd2 Gene Deficiency Alters Numbers of GABAergic Cells," showed that Brd2 was correlated with a greater susceptibility to seizures. These results are significant because they have the potential to help clarify the genetic underpinnings of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in humans and could ultimately help to develop more effective treatments for seizures.

“Emily’s dedication to her project was nothing short of extraordinary," said Guido Garbarino, Mamaroneck High School’s original science research teacher. "She was incredibly focused and spent most of her summer and many evenings and weekends working on her project. This award is well deserved." This project represents the first formal collaboration between the Mamaroneck Original Science Research program and another school’s program. Garbarino worked closely with Tom Callahan, the Dobbs Ferry research teacher, and McCarthy and Argyros to complete the project. This included both in-person and virtual collaboration.

“Participating in OSR has been one of the best experiences of my high school career," said McCarthy. "Both Mr. Garbarino's class and the work I do in the lab have made me realize the extent of my passion for science and opened up new career goals. Recognition from Siemens is a huge honor and icing on the cake.”

McCarthy and Yiorgos are among 300 Semifinalists chosen this year from approximately 1,500 entries.

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