Harriton Senior Awarded Prestigious Research Scholarship

Sam Weissman working at Dr. Una O’Doherty’s lab. Photo: Penn Medicine via Twitter

On January 23rd, Harriton senior Samuel Weissman was named one of 40 finalists of 2,000 applicants in the annual Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS). The STS is a prestigious national Math and Science competition for high school seniors that distributes more than 3.1 million dollars in awards.

Weissman received the distinction for his project “Massive Longitudinal HIV Sequencing in Two Subjects on Antiretroviral Therapy Reveals Opposing Selection Pressures on Treatment Resistant Reservoir and Suggests New Drug Targets.”

PA Senator Pat Toomey gave a shoutout to Sam on Facebook for his achievement.

He said his work studies the genetic development of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inside infected patients and how the virus hides away in pockets of the body. Both, Weissman says, are critical to understanding how the virus resists treatment. In an interview with Harriton TV, Sam stated that his research “provides a huge new avenue for researchers looking into [ways] to treat patients who are already infected… because there’s an evolving understanding of how people who already have HIV could be treated.”

His naming as a finalist follows the original announcement, on January 9th, of his status as a top 300 Scholar. Regeneron awarded him 2,000 dollars towards his research and 2,000 dollars towards the STEM programs of Harriton High School. On March 7th through 13th, Weissman will compete in the finals in Washington DC, where he has the possibility of winning up to 250,000.

Weissman has been involved in science from a young age. He participated in BCMS Science Olympiad and now participated on the HHS Science Olympiad team. He has won National Awards in events such as Disease Detectives and Microbe Mission.

In middle school, Weissman began an internship at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where Weissman has done and continues to do his research, under Associate Professor Una O’Doherty.

Weissman encouraged others to pursue scientific research, saying “it’s a great opportunity for people who are curious about the world to use their thoughts to explore real-life problems.”

To learn more about Samuel Weissman’s achievement, please visit the following links:

About author

Theo Sharp is a junior at Harriton High School and a member of Harriton TV. He enjoys learning about journalism and engaging with issues around the community. Sharp joined Harriton TV in 2018.
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