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Greenwich High Junior Wins Global Google Science Fair Grand Prize

Google Science Fair Awards Ceremony presenter Derek Muller and grand prize winner Olivia Hallisey.
Google Science Fair Awards Ceremony presenter Derek Muller and grand prize winner Olivia Hallisey. Photo Credit: Provided

GREENWICH, Conn. -- After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa, Greenwich High School junior Olivia Hallisey was determined to find a way to help.

That is what helped her win the grand prize at this year's Global Google Science Fair.

“Winning (will) enable me to continue to develop my Ebola Assay Card as a multiple disease diagnostic assay and to make a meaningful impact on global health through the early detection of often fatal diseases. I am inspired by Dr. Kent Brantly, who showed the global community our collective moral obligation to act with courage and compassion,” said Hallisey in her Google Science Fair profile.

Hallisey's project was to develop a quick, inexpensive and accurate detection of the virus that does not require refrigeration.

According to the summary of her research project on the Google Science Fair website, the "research creates a 'stable and stored at room temperature' temperature-independent Ebola Assay Card (EAC), which utilizes the stabilizing properties of silk fibroin to 'break the cold chain' and allow for water-activated detection of Ebola antigens, with detection limits that are analogous to current sandwich ELISA techniques. The EAC provides rapid, inexpensive, accurate detection of Ebola viral antigens based on color change within 30 minutes in individuals prior to their becoming symptomatic and infectious."

For winning the grand prize, she will receive a $50,000 scholarship.

Fellow Greenwich High School junior Margaret Cirino was recognized as a regional finalist at the Google Science Fair 2015, earning GHS two honorees in the top 90 in this global competition of thousands of young scientists.

Cirino's research proposed the synthesis of a dissolvable and biocompatible cornstarch/PVA micro-carrier that is hydrotropic and easily maneuverable with electromagnetic fields or other external stimuli. This device potentially would be able to deliver drugs to targeted parts of the body while rivaling other current drug delivery options.

Hallisey and Cirino will be recognized by the school board meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Julian Curtiss School, 180 E. Elm St.

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