High Schooler's Genome Ingenious

At 17 years old, Karissa Wang, a senior at Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (NUAMES), has designed a way to combat drug-resistant bacteria. Her research earned her a spot in the semifinals of the national Intel Science Talent Search. 

Wang developed her research under the mentorship of Matthew Nicholaou, an assistant medical laboratory sciences professor at WSU. Their work focused on a new gene-editing tool called CRISPRs, or clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats, which are bacterial immune systems that can be used to edit a genome.

Wang was one of 300 students in the country — the only one from Utah — who made it to the semifinals from a pool of 1,750 entrants. As a semifinalist, she received a $1,000 award with an additional $1,000 going to NUAMES.