Uma Padmanabhan, a sophomore at New Providence High School, was recently chosen to be a Student Leader at the Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) this summer.

Part of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University, this program allows students the opportunity to conduct research within the field of molecular biology and bioinformatics.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Padmanabhan successfully completed the program, publishing DNA sequences into the international repository of all known DNA sequences, GenBank. As a member of the protein modeling team at the WSSP, she helped in modeling a protein that had been discovered by sequence analysis. Padmanabhan and her group went on to present their results at a Poster Session at Rutgers University earlier in June.

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This summer, Padmanabhan and other students involved in the program will be analyzing sequences of DNA from Duckweed, which has possible future implications for bioremediation efforts and as a possible source of biofuel.

As a Student Leader, Padmanabhan will be conducting all aspects of the project with instruction from the faculty at Rutgers University. During the upcoming academic year, she will lead students through DNA collection and analysis, concluding with a presentation to Rutgers University faculty and other WSSP members.