The winners of the 52nd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (#BTYSTE) are Maria Louise Fufezan (aged 16) and Diana Bura (aged 15) from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan.

Maria and Diana won the top prize for their project entitled, ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans’.

Maria and Diana were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 28th European Union Young Scientist competition in Brussels later this year and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy.

“The innovation and creativity of the students exhibiting here this week is astounding and it is truly inspiring to see the world of STEM brought alive by this talented young generation,” said Shay Walsh, managing director, BT Ireland.

Speaking about the winning entry, category judge Prof. Grace McCormack said, “These students have asked a novel question – could there be any effects of enzymes added to animal feed on worms of importance for soil fertility? The girls provide new evidence that there may be an unexpected detrimental change in behaviour and lifespan of these essential worms. The work is important for the environment and the food industry and will undoubtedly lead to further research in this important area”.

Almost 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 29 counties competed in the RDS for the title.

Other winners

The award for best individual went to transition year student Shane Curran (aged 16) from Terenure College, Dublin for his project ‘Velodrome: The Automated Logistics Fulfilment Platform’.  Shane was entered in the technology category at intermediate level.

The award for runner-up group went to 6th year students Gabriel Barat (aged 17) and Adrian Wolniak (aged 16) from Synge Street CBS, Dublin for their project ‘A Mathematical Model of Coffee Rust’. The group were entered in the chemical, physical and mathematical sciences category at senior level.

The award for individual runner-up went to 5th year student Renuka Chintapalli (aged 16) from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin for her project ‘Developing a predictive tool for identifying FLNc-associated biomarkers of oesophageal cancer metastasis’. Renuka was entered in the biological and ecological sciences category at senior level.

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