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Harrisburg University hosted the 2018 PA BioGenius Challenge on May 24.

Coordinated by Dr. Leena Pattarkine, who heads HU’s Biotechnology Department, and sponsored by Harrisburg University in collaboration with Biotech Institute , the BioGenius Challenge is one of the most established science competitions to showcase innovative Biotechnology research projects submitted by high school students.

The contest was open to high school students (Grades 9 – 12) enrolled in biology or science related courses in any public, private or home school across the U.S.

Watching high school students dive into biotechnology is encouraging to Pattarkine, who sees it as a field that has more jobs than applicants in today’s workforce. She knows that without opportunities through programs such as BioGENEius, that some students would never be exposed to the possibilities of biotechnology.

With a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology and has extensive experience in biochemistry, biotechnology, and nanobiotechnology, Pattarkine leads the Biotechnology major at the University and serves as director of the Capital Area Biotechnology Partnership.

She has worked on membranes, proteins, lipids, DNA diagnostics (gene therapy, DNA chips), and protein immobilization for developing them as nanobiotechnological material. She has experience with bioanalytical techniques for establishing structure-function relationships for macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids). She has also worked with liposomes and reverse micelles as membrane–mimetic systems.

She has conducted research in environmental biotechnology project related to uranium bioremediation. She has been a recipient of Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovative Zone Grant for research on the development of a hand-held biosensor for the detection of Methicillin-resistant /Staphylococcus aureus/ (MRSA).

For more information on the Challenge, visit: