Program Archive

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Kentucky Junior Academy of Science Meeting
April 17, 2021

This event is virtual. All posted times are Eastern Daylight Time


Melony Stambaugh, Director, Kentucky Junior Academy of Science
Bruce Griffis, Co-chair, Kentucky Junior Academy of Science
Amanda Fuller, Kentucky Academy of Science Executive Director

Junior Academy Program 2021

Friday, April 16, 2021  5:00pm - 6:00pm
General Orientation - Friday afternoon
This session is optional. We will explain the process for any presenters or judges who are interested in seeing how the event will run and we can answer any questions you have before the event.
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:15am - 9:30am
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:30am - 12:00pm
HS Biology & the Environment
9:45 - Determining the effects of added zinc on plants
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Khushi Pola
duPont Manual High School 
The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of added zinc on the height of black-eyed peas and the chlorophyll content in the leaves, as zinc contamination in soil is becoming more of an issue today. To test the hypothesis, forty black-eyed pea plants were planted in forty Styrofoam cups, with 100 grams of sterilized organic soil in each cup. The plants were divided into four groups, and each group received 0 ppm, 100 ppm, 200 ppm, or 300 ppm of zinc sulfate fertilizer. Sixteen milliliters of water was given to the plants every day. Height measurements were taken every alternate day. Chlorophyll concentrations were determined with a colorimeter; this was done at the end of the experiment. The null hypothesis was accepted for the height data; the research hypothesis wasn't supported. For the chlorophyll content data, the null hypothesis was rejected, and the research hypothesis was supported.
10:15 - NextCare:An Intelligent System for the Early Diagnosis and Remote Monitoring of Parkinson's Disease
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Shreyas Kar
duPont Manual High School 
Currently, diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) is often late and inaccurate. NextCare is a three-pronged system for the early diagnosis and continuous monitoring of PD. Firstly, an algorithm utilizing Machine Learning and Signal Processing is developed for the early diagnosis of PD through a 30-second voice sample of a patient saying a phonetic vowel. The Early Algorithm is able to diagnose PD 5 years before existing methods with an accuracy of 94%. Secondly, a system is created for the remote monitoring of PD motor disease progression by quantifying the severity and constancy of Rest Tremor, one of the most common PD symptoms, using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale. This is done via data collected from a 3D-printed wearable device equipped with inertial sensors. A mobile application is created to enter a voice sample for diagnosis, for neurologists to monitor rest tremor levels and visualize tremors in real-time.
10:30 - Political affiliation vs. Optimism on post-Covid future
Topic: High School Behavioral and Social Science
Joanna Jose
duPont Manual High School 
How does one's political affiliation affect their optimism on their post-Covid future?

Joanna Jose

duPont Manual High School, Louisville, KY, USA

The purpose of this experiment was to find out what people associated with certain political affiliations feel about life after quarantine, so that American leaders would have a better understanding of how to make people safe and happy with transitioning back to normal life.

This was done through a Google Forms survey, asking participants to rate their political affiliations and how they felt on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being mostly pessimistic and 5 very optimistic. On average, the respondents being Democrat, Centre, and Republican, identified with option 2, 3, and 4, respectively.

These results suggest that the people who identify with these political affiliations overall don't feel very strongly optimistic or pessimistic towards this issue.
10:45 - The Effect of Over-the-Head Listening Devices on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss - Abstract
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Vedika Venkataramanan
duPont Manual High School 
This project worked to further understand the contribution over-the-head listening devices have towards noise-induced hearing loss. The primary cause of NIHL is the use of over-the-head listening devices which can cause nerve damage, though intended to refine the sound quality of auditory materials. It was hypothesized that if the decibel level was increased in combination with the distance the device was from the ear, the likelihood of nerve damage would increase due to the proximity at which the tone is amplified. A model using a circuit replicated the human eardrum and simulated the over-the-head devices. A tone was carried through the model, then a decibel meter measured amplification during each of the 10 trials. All results were found significant excluding two, which may have been impacted by external factors including discrepancies in dB level. Earbuds held the ability to cause nerve damage and proved the hypothesized statement.
11:00 - The Effect of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds Present in Common Household Cleaners on the Growth of Mealworms
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Gokul Achaththekoot
duPont Manual High School 
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QAC's) are antimicrobial agents that are used to get rid of bacteria and are chemicals found in products that advertise antimicrobial activity. To assess the health effects, 2 QAC's (Ammonium Hydroxide (AH) & Benzalkonium Chloride (BC)) were exposed in various concentrations (0.005, 0.01, 0.02 for BC & 1.0, 1.5, and 3.0 for AH) to mealworms for 15 minutes daily for 2 weeks, and their change in length was recorded. Mealworms were used for this project, as they possess similar receptors to humans, like acetylcholine, which respond to growth status and fumes, but in a much shorter time period. The results revealed mealworms exposed to AH have an effect on the length between 90-96% compared to the untreated group, whereas BC groups have an effect on the length between 90-93% compared to the untreated group. Therefore, the alternate hypothesis was accepted.
11:15 - The Effects of Hydroponic Farming on Plant Health and Production Costs as Compared to Soil Farming
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Phoebe Boylan
duPont Manual 
Other Group Member (if any)
Mia Schecter 
duPont Manual 
The purpose was to determine which method(s) of hydroponic farming were most cost effective while still producing healthy plants. The hypothesis was the Vertical method of hydroponics would produce plants with greatest plant health and be most cost effective. The hydroponics analyzed were Deep Water Culture, Nutrient Film Technique, and Vertical farming. The dependent variables included plant height, chlorophyll levels, mildew levels, % water, % water cost, % fertilizer, and % net input saved. Results stated Vertical hydroponics method had significantly greater stage 1 chlorophyll levels and greatest water and fertilizer usage and cost savings and greatest net input savings. Vertical farming had greater chlorophyll levels because the plant tray was situated closer to the grow light because of its design and was in the more concentrated range of light for the grow light. Vertical Farming had least net inputs because less fertilizer and water was used from greater circulation.
11:30 - The effects of PFAS on human health
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Anirudh Gundapantula
duPont Manual High School 
The purpose of this project was to determine the effects of the chemical PFAS on humans. The EPA states these chemicals cause harmful health effects like cardiovascular disease. According to the NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Science), PFAS are made of a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms which form strong bonds. These chemicals are everywhere due to their properties. In this project, daphnia magna were used to represent the human since they are used in most bioassays. In bioassays, the harm that a substance can cause is determined through experimentation on a living organism. In this experiment, the heart rate of daphnia magna was measured over 30 minutes and 1 hour. The results were the heart rates of the organism in the PFAS culture was significantly lower than the heart rates in the control culture. All data was statistically significant.
11:45 - The Use of BioCargos on Biospecimen Storage at Room Temperature
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Mehek Gupta
duPont Manual High School 
For this project, encapsulating BSA in BioCargos (TMOS sol-gels) at room temperature will eliminate the issues of cryopreservation. This will aid in biobanks (cancer research), and COVID-19 test kit and vaccine storage. The hypothesis that the rate of release for the BSA concentration would be slower in the encapsulated proteins for 21 days than that of the control BSA was tested.

TMOS sol-gels were prepared. Then, the buffer solution and proteins were encapsulated and kept at room temperature for 21 days. Every 7 days, the concentrations of the BSA were determined. Data was analyzed using a t-test, showing a significant difference.

Data showed at each day, the concentration for the treated BSA (with BioCargos) was greater than that of the control. The rate of release for the treated was slower than that of the control.

In this study, the research hypothesis was proved. Further experiments will determine silica separation methods.
12:00 - To what extent do mutations occur on the gp120 glycoprotein and how does this allow HIV-1 to infect CD4+ (Helper) T-cell
Topic: High School Biology and the Environment
Sushruth Muthuluru
duPont Manual 
One way HIV disguises itself from the immune response is by rapid mutations of its proteins. One such protein found in the larger, prominent env protein landscape is GP120, which is a glycoprotein that connects with CD4 upon HIV entry into a host. This study aimed at filling a hole in the field pertaining to GP120 glycoprotein mutation rates on HIV-1. The methodology for this research was a qualitative extensive meta-analysis of similar literature published on the NCBI database. Mutation rates of env and gp120 rates would be compared by creating a novel database. The data found that gp120 had statistically different rates of mutations than env but upon further analysis showed inconsistent mutation rates that could be attributed to the environment. This research could aid in our understanding of gp120 or HIV mutational patterns and can lead to an eventual therapy.
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:30am - 12:00pm
HS Computer Science & Mathematics
9:30 - A Data Driven Approach to Optimizing the US Court system
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Dhiraj Kanneganti
duPont Manual High School 
The purpose of this experiment is to create a machine learning algorithm that can successfully correlate certain factors of a court system with that court's efficiency. This research is important because right now the American court system is becoming increasingly overwhelmed. There are nearly 1 million individual cases waiting to be processed since August 2019 in immigration court alone. It is of utmost importance that a solution to America's current judicial crisis is found.
The explanatory variables of a court that will be used to create the machine learning algorithms are number of filings, terminations, pending cases, judgeships, trials completed, and time from filing to trial. The response variable is the median time in months it takes a case to go from filing to trial. The machine learning algorithms will then read and process the data into vector arrays. In the form of vector arrays, the data can then be
10:00 - Developing a web-based Convolutional Neural Network for fast, accurate, and inexpensive Pulmonary Tuberculosis detection
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Sai Jeyaprakash
duPont Manual High School 
Every year, Tuberculosis infects 10 million people and kills 1.5 million. This is mainly because there are no fast and accurate means of testing for it, especially in less developed countries. The purpose of this project was to create a deep learning algorithm that can diagnose Pulmonary Tuberculosis via chest x-rays and integrate that model into a web application. The final application allowed users to get on, pick a chest x-ray from their computer through an file window, and get their results with the click of a button. The goal of this project was to achieve an 80% accuracy with the algorithm and a 100% upload success rate with the web application. The final accuracy was 85%, and the upload success rate was 100%. This project could help towards the effort to end reduce tuberculosis infections and help humanity become a step closer to eradicating this disease.
10:15 - Forecasting Stock Prices using Machine Learning
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Salil Kothari
duPont Manual High School 
Knowing how the stock market will perform is always valuable information. A machine learning program can help predict the stock price's performance. For the program to yield highest accuracy, knowing the optimum selection of data is needed. This project's purpose is to find which dataset, from certain time frames, will best train the programming model.
With machine learning, a regression neural network was created in Python. Coca Cola's stock data from various time frames was tested and the average accuracy of ten trials was calculated.
After testing, the average accuracies were - fifty year: 26.288%, twenty year: 53.002%, ten year: 73.770%, five year: 86.681%, and one year: 96.472%. This revealed a trend that shorter more recent datasets such as the one and five year, have significantly higher accuracies than longer older ones. This study shows which datasets to use for stock price prediction and possibly regression problems altogether.
10:30 - Movement analysis and fall prediction using an arduino based sensor
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Anirudh Srinivasan
DuPont Manual High School 
Elderly patients who fall are at increased risk of death or devastating injury. The aim of the experiment was to analyze gait and develop a sensor that would detect a fall before it occurred thereby warning the individual.
The hypothesis was that if an individual falls, the Arduino sensor will sense tilt and alert the individual right before the fall. The Arduino was used along with a Adafruit 3 axis accelerometer and gyroscope. A program was created to set up the interface between the Adafruit sensor and the Arduino. Position was determined by the orientation with respect to x, y and z axes. The three gyroscopic functions; Roll, Pitch, and Yaw were measured. After informed consent, subjects were asked to do 5 activities, each of which was repeated 3 times.
This data was then used to develop a machine learning based algorithm to predict movement and falls.
11:00 - The Early Detection of Type 2 Diabetes Using Machine Learning Algorithms
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Shridha Rajeswar
duPont Manual High School 
Type 2 Diabetes is a pancreatic condition that is difficult to diagnose early with current invasive screening equipment. To mitigate this, a study was conducted to develop several classification algorithms that will accurately output binary diabetic conditions (0 = not diabetic, 1 = diabetic) based on seven vital body measurements that indicate diabetes (body mass index, skin thickness, etc.). The algorithms were coded using Python and underwent the testing and training phases to predict the outputs. It was observed that Logistic Regression was the most accurate classification algorithm (78.04%), and independent variables with middle range values produced the most accurate algorithms within each algorithm type. Although statistical analysis tests concluded no significant differences in the results, this study proved beneficial for providing insight on the functionality of each classification algorithm in terms of prediction and costs. Future improvements include testing the practicality of an ML-based diagnosis equipment prototype.
11:30 - Using Computational Methods to Create School Attendance Zones to Promote a More Diverse and Equitable environment
Topic: High School Computer Science & Mathematics
Amy Suo
duPont Manual High School 
Resegregation is a rising problem within American high schools; an uneven distribution of races among schools leads to significant differences in funding and academic achievement between schools of completely different demographics. This research used a desegregation algorithm based on voronoi polygons to create school attendance zones that reflect the demographics of the entire region, making them more diverse and homogenous. The attendance zones are created by finding a central node and partitioning the rest of the points to whichever node they are the closest to. Two different methods for choosing the node were used. One choose the nodes at complete random, and the other choose the nodes that had the most similar demographics to that of the region. The data in this project supported the hypothesis that the selective node would produce much more effective attendance zones in both population and demographics to create equal zones.
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:30am - 12:00pm
HS Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
9:30 - An Algorithm to Estimate Lithium-Ion Battery Lifetime
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
Andrew Park
The Gatton Academy 
Lithium-ion batteries are a crucial component in many applications. Battery lifetime must be estimated accurately to prevent rapid degradation, emission of harmful gases, and fatal explosions. Thus, an algorithm was created to estimate the battery lifetime, ensuring the safety and efficiency of these systems. Once a lithium-ion battery is not able to store 75% state-of-health compared to a new battery, the battery has reached its end-of-life, where further use may result in catastrophes. By gathering data on the properties of the battery cell, equations that generate curves to accurately estimate the battery lifetime were created. It was found that the maximum projected lifetime of the current lithium-ion battery is ~2100-4130 cycles. Also, discharge capacity will limit the battery lifetime before average voltage, but the average voltage the battery can deliver drops off significantly faster after a temperature failure. This algorithm accurately estimates lithium-ion battery lifetime with greater precision than before.
9:45 - Developing a Compact Belt for Lower Back Pain Prevention by Studying the Effect of Sitting Posture on Lower Back Muscle
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
Swetha Senthilnathan
duPont Manual High School 
The objective of this project was to design and develop a low cost, compact wearable belt to detect the back posture and alert the user when their sitting posture is detrimental. An experiment was conducted to find the best sitting posture angle that minimizes stress on the lower back muscle. Surface electromyographic sensor were placed on the muscle near the L1-L2 and L3-L4 vertebrae of the three participants recruited. The voltage output of the sEMG sensor were measured at each angle of the sitting posture, from 60 to 120 degrees in increments of 10. It was found that 90 degrees was the optimal sitting posture angle that minimizes lower back pain. ANOVA testing was done to find that 80 â?? 100 degrees was the optimal sitting range. A wearable belt was designed to alert the user via vibration motors whenever the sitting posture angle isn't between 80 and 100
10:00 - Developing an Autonomous Water Quality Inspector with an Accessible Database
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
Karishma Arora
dupont manual 
Other Group Member (if any)
Stella Jones 
dupont manual 
The purpose of this project was to create an affordable robot that could autonomously gather data from a water source and upload it onto a website. About one billion people get ill by contaminated water every year making this a crucial issue. The robot includes a 3-D printed arm powered by servo motors. There were four contaminants chosen because of the impacts they have on humans. The testing process begins with the robot picking up a testing strip using its arm. The data from a color sensor was sent to a bluetooth module which analyzes and sends it to the website. This process was significantly faster than the current manual process. The robot was scored on a 7-point scale, with seven different parameters; one for yes and zero for no. With a t-score of 0.0233, it was concluded that the null hypothesis was accepted and the project was successful.
10:45 - The Effect of Annealing on Cluster Formation
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
James Gonzalez
duPont Manual High School 
The creation of nanofilm is used in many materials for structural engineering and electronic equipment. Manipulating and observing nanoclusters in real life is costly and time consuming. The growth of clusters was studied using computer simulations. This program incorporates four basic atomic processes and one after-process: deposition of atoms, diffusion, nucleation, growth of clusters, and thermal annealing. Annealing is the process of heating clusters to create a probability of atoms breaking off clusters. Annealing follows Ostwald Ripening, where smaller clusters are absorbed into larger clusters. Different temperatures and their roles were identified. Both size and spatial distributions of clusters before and after annealing were studied using histograms and pair-correlation functions. The characteristic of the distributions was analyzed. Results found that higher annealing temperatures increased cluster density, compactness (minimized branching), and average distance between clusters. Comparison of simulation results with experimental scans support validity. Potential applications of nano-engineering will be discussed.
11:00 - Utilizing Saltwater Batteries to Power USB Devices During Natural Disasters
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
Jash Pola
duPont Manual High School 
The study compared different combinations of metal anodes and cathodes to determine which combination would produce the most voltage in a saltwater battery. Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that the zinc anode and copper cathode would be the most effective. A NaCl(aq) solution was prepared and each individual cathode and anode were submerged in the solution for a total of nine possible combinations. The highest voltage over a two minute period was then recorded with a multimeter, with five trials conducted. The results showed that a combination of zinc anode and nickel cathode produced the most voltage, with an average voltage of 781 mV. However, the variance for the nickel cathode was significant, leading to the conclusion that the zinc anode plus copper cathode to be the most effective. When the engineering device was constructed, an output voltage of 2.97 volts was recorded.
11:15 - Which Oil is Best to Use to Create a Ferrofluid Capable of Retrieving Microplastics?
Topic: High School Engineering, Chemistry & Physics
Sai Javvadi
duPont Manual High School 
The purpose of this project was to find the best oil capable of retrieving a large quantity of microplastics. Microplastics are a very big threat to ecosystems all over the world. A method was found that was able to mitigate the effects of microplastics in an easily replicable way that doesn't require expensive water treatment factories. This method involves using oil in conjunction with iron oxide and magnets. This raised the question of the best oil to use for this procedure. Therefore, this project dealt with finding the best of 4 very common oils that showed properties of bondage. The average absorbance rate (which is directly correlated to concentration) was measured for each oil. It was found that although castor oil did the best and canola was a close-second, the individual comparison between these two oils was statistically insignificant. Also, a link between density of oil and performance was found.
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:30am - 12:00pm
Middle School 1
9:30 - Best Construction Material for Decks
Topic: Middle School 2
vallabh ramesh
Meyzeek Middle School 
Majority of homes in the United States have a deck in their backyards. It provides the homeowner with extra living space and spend time outdoors to enjoy the weather. Most Americans consider the deck to be an extension of their homes. Decks come in all sorts of sizes and shapes made of different building materials. This project evaluated which wood substrate is a good material to build decks. Within the wood category, the most commonly available species of wood like Southern Yellow Pine, Walnut, Oak, Cedar and Poplar were evaluated. The impact strength, surface hardness, humidity resistance, expansion and contraction, outdoor weathering performance was tested and then compared for price vs performance profiles. The study showed that Southern Yellow Pine provided the right balance of physical and mechanical properties making it the most cost effective substrate to construct decks.
9:45 - Death by WiFi?, Plant Recovery
Topic: Middle School 2
Paul- Jacob Asher Estep
Jenkins Middle High School 
Did you know that WiFi signal does affect plant growth? After completing three trials of the effects of WiFi signal on plant growth and seed germination I noticed the plants that were affected were not growing healthy. I asked myself, 'Is there a way to rejuvenate plants from the effects of WiFi signal?" I listed different liquids to test- bottled water, 100% grape juice, purple Gatorade, and liquid compost. After exposing four plants to WiFi signal and a control plant in another room I tested different liquids on the plants by sitting them in a plate with the liquid. The plant that absorbed the liquid compost showed signs of rejuvenation in five and a half hours. The stem didn't droop, the leaves were softer, and the base of a leaf began to turn green from yellow. I learned that plants like sugar but liquid compost rejuvenated the plant fastest.
10:00 - Do We Know What We're Buying?; Exploring Kombucha's Bacterial contents.
Topic: Middle School 2
Kate Stewart
Saint Francis of Assisi 
TOPIC: This project asked What bacteria are in Kombucha, and what are they capable of?
PURPOSE: This project hoped to determine if the bacteria in Kombucha are antibiotic resistant or create defensive antibiotics themselves, and if bacteria that are antibiotic resistant pass resistance along to E-coli.
HYPOTHESIS: It was hypothesized that according to the label I would find, Lactobacillus, the bacteria in Kombucha would be antibiotic resistant, and create defensive antibiotics themselves and that E-coli would be more motile and more resistant when exposed to Kombucha.
METHODS: The bacteria from Kombucha were grown on MacConkey Agar, Mannitol Salt Agar, and Tryptic Soy Agar, tested for antibiotic resistance, gram stained, and it was tested if the bacteria in Kombucha affected E-coli's motility.
RESULTS: Bacteria grew on Mannitol Salt and Tryptic Soy Agar, and were resistant towards antibiotics, and they made E-coli more sensitive towards ciprofloxacin and chloramphenicol, and the motility increased.
10:15 - Exploring and Remediating Vinyl Flooring Genotoxicity With Kentucky Plants
Topic: Middle School 2
Ellery Reynolds
Exploring and Remediating Vinyl Flooring Genoxocity With Kentucky Plant Extracts
To see if vinyl flooring is toxic, to see if it causes DNA damage, and to see if antioxidants save planaria from it.
A toxicity test using vinyl flooring was done. Then, 20 planaria were cut for Plain controls, vinyl flooring alone, pretreatment dandelion, and pretreatment kudzu. These were used in the DNA experiment. 32 wells were filled, 16 for dandelion 90% dilution and 16 for kudzu at 0.1%. After 48 hours, vinyl flooring was added.
78% of the planaria died in the vinyl flooring. 9% of dandelion and 75% of the kudzu died. No DNA was damaged on the gel. The dandelion lived 2.5 more dilutions and the kudzu lived 1 more.
The vinyl flooring killed 78% of planaria. No DNA was damaged, but oxidative stress occurred. The antioxidants protected planaria because they lived in higher dilutions.
10:30 - Found: Reuniting Families Using Facial Recognition
Topic: Middle School 2
Kevin Brothers
Saint Francis Of Assisi Catholic School 
Purpose: To help reunite families that have been separated in locations like refugee camps, I created Found, an easy-to-use web app that uses facial recognition to identify facial similarities between children and their parents.
Methods: Found has two pieces. First is the Found API, a program that uses artificial intelligence to compare pictures of two individuals and report the probability that they are related. Second is the Found web app, a 'front-end' for the Found API, written in C# and HTML using Blazor.
Data: The Found API was trained using Faces in the Wild, an open-source collection of facial photographs. The Found API has an accuracy of 82% and is likely to underperform when used in populations that were not well-represented in the dataset.
Conclusions: Found meets the original design goals, although is not yet freely available online. Found is ready for adoption in refugee camps around the world.
10:45 - Kentucky Native Plant Mugwort Extract and Magnets: Adjunct Cancer Therapy
Topic: Middle School 2
Charlotte Connally
Purpose: This project explores if mugwort can be a safe, effective cancer treatment. Additionally, it explores the combination of magnets with mugwort to see if magnetic fields reduce the amount of mugwort needed to kill planaria.
Methods: Mugwort was acquired, blended up, centrifuged, and sterile-filtered into a toxic tea. Planaria was exposed to mugwort with and without magnets to observe the regeneration process, specifically the metastasis and proliferation stages.
Results: The lethal dose for cut planaria was the 20% toxin. The lethal dose for uncut planaria was 40% toxin. ​When static magnetic fields and mugwort were combined, the 5% and 10% toxins were 100% lethal at the proliferation stage and 75% lethal at the metastasis stage.
Conclusion: The hypothesis which states that mugwort will kill planaria is accepted. The hypothesis which states that the combination of magnets and mugwort will kill planaria at a lower rate of toxin is accepted.
11:00 - Martian Grout: Exploring Grout for Space Studies
Topic: Middle School 2
Silas Noonan
Saint Francis of Assisi 
Martian Grout: Exploring Grout for Space Studies

The main goal of this project is to create and test a grout using a martian regolith simulant and then put the grouts in a vacuum or in earth atmosphere and compare it to a regular earth grout. Other goals included testing and comparing the strength of (1) river sand grouts set in a vacuum, (2) river sand grouts set in Earth atmosphere, (3) regolith simulant grouts set in a vacuum and, (4) regolith simulant set in Earth atmosphere.
This was accomplished by measuring and mixing dry materials, mix the dry materials, then add water and repeat mixing. Next, we cast the mix into the molds, removing them the next day. At 7, 14, 28 days, the grouts were tested to failure in a hydraulic press.
None of the other grouts were stronger than the sand control. The closest to the
11:15 - Ohio River Water: Creating a Selective Environment for Pathogenic Bacteria
Topic: Middle School 2
Mary Shea Ballantine
Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic School 
Pharmaceuticals entering the Ohio River are creating pathogens. This project investigated the growth and development of pathogenic traits in non-pathogenic Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus in the presence of Ohio River water.
Both bacteria transformed to pathogens by becoming resistant to Ciprofloxacin and Chloramphenicol, and formed larger biofilms. Their growth decreased over a 12-hour exposure to Ohio River water media. In real-world conditions using Ohio River water (not media), S.aureus had a 23.6% average smaller zone of inhibition than control and E.coli had a 32.38% smaller zone-proving that the Ohio River created a selective environment for pathogens. Biofilms for E. coli: 187% larger than control, and for S. aureus: 3.72% larger.
Not only are waterways contributing to antibiotic resistance, they may require greater amounts of chemicals to purify water for drinking. More chemicals, in turn, can create disinfection byproducts where purification efforts create rather than solve problems.
11:30 - Production of Hydrogen as a clean energy source through electrolysis of water using different battery sources
Topic: Middle School 2
Annika Chadha
Samuel V. Noe Middle School 
As a means of reducing dependence on energy derived from non-renewable sources, Hydrogen has been found to be a clean, efficient, and low-cost energy option. Since hydrogen does not exist as a gas in nature, it needs to be produced through other means. Electrolysis is a reliable method to produce hydrogen by splitting water. My project goal was to study how alkaline batteries and solar panels split water into its component gases of hydrogen and oxygen. As a further goal, I developed an organic solar cell produced using low cost materials to generate electricity. I was able to obtain consistent results from both the alkaline battery source and solar panel across multiple trials. Both sources produced the same levels of gases at 3, 5 and 8 minutes. My organic battery made from raspberry pulp used the anthocyanin dye in the fruit to generate electricity and produced the level of electricity
Saturday, April 17, 2021  9:30am - 12:00pm
Middle School 2
9:30 - A Functional COVID-19 Mask Which Monitors and Predicts Illness Phillip Kapoor, Saint Francis of Assisi
Topic: Middle School 2
Rihaan Kapoor
Saint Francis of Assisi 
The topic of my project is engineering to create a safer environment against illness. I will create an electronic mask that can predict illness by recording symptoms.
The purpose of my project is to help people prevent illness. I will do this by creating an electronic mask that can record the temperature of someone, determine if they are sick, report it through an app, and store the data into a file for future use.
In order to create this, I created and coded a circuit for each of my sensors: temperature, distance, and Bluetooth module. Then, I put all these circuits onto a mask and sewed fabric over it. Finally, I created an app and a data system.
This project will have hurdles like learning to code and creating circuits.
The mask had three designs: first taped, second sewn, and the third added Bluetooth, an app, and a data system.
9:45 - Analyzing Covid-19 Positive Case Data Using the Fibonacci Sequence
Topic: Middle School 2
Gus Reinhart
St. Francis of Assisi 
Title: Mathematical analysis of Covid-19 Positive Case Data Using the Fibonacci Sequence
Category: Mathematics
Purpose: The general purpose of this project is to determine if the Fibonacci Sequence correlates to Covid-19 case numbers in the United States from January 22nd, 2020 through December 31st, 2020. The purpose of this project is to determine if the Fibonacci Sequence will occur in the U.S. Covid-19 case number data because studies have shown that the Fibonacci Sequence occurs over time in case numbers of other infectious diseases.
Materials Methods: This project requires a computer with Internet access, Google Sheets, Statistics for Covid-19 case numbers in the United States data from, 1 log book for collecting data, and a pencil. Create a Google Sheet document on the computer. For this project use and the Covid-19 cases day by day in the US on the site. Set up the Google sheet with 'date'
10:00 - Artificial Intelligence on Competitive Tasks/Games
Topic: Middle School 2
Edward Kim
Meyzeek Middle School 
The purpose of this research is to discover which type of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which I assigned as ASAI: uses the attack algorithm, DSAI: defense algorithm, and AaDSAI: attack/defense algorithm, is best for solving in competitive and logical games. If one of the AI is superior, that AI will be the one that is used in further research of system AI software in logical and competitive games.
This research can have various societal impacts, such as a virtual learning friend/coach that can train students to learn how to do an adversarial task, where it goes against the learner. In future generations, people can extensively develop the virtual learning buddy/teacher to adapt to the learner's capabilities. For this research, I used the Unity engine software and Visual Studio framework. I created a software for the experimentations through a Tic-Tac-Toe game. The results showed that the AaDSAI was the most efficient.
10:15 - Bifurcations in a Hybrid Population Model with Discrete and Continuous Growth
Topic: Middle School 2
Justin Huang
Meyzeek Middle School 
First, I examined how different parameters affect a mathematical population prediction model, which considers both reproduction and aggression as continuous events. I created bifurcation diagrams to test the system stability by changing different parameter values. I found that increased rate of aggression between adults and juveniles or increased birth rate destabilizes the population dynamics and increased rate of aggression between juveniles and juveniles stabilizes the population dynamics in this model.

Then, I extended my mathematical model to consider a more realistic situation, which further considers between season population growth is discrete and within season population mortality is continuous. I developed bifurcation diagrams to study how 5 parameters affect the system regional stability and global stability. In this extended population model, the constant per unit rate adult species attack juveniles introduces complex dynamics and destabilizes the system. Increased continuous season population mortality and discrete season population growth further destabilizes the system.
10:30 - Discovering the Effects of Ragweed on Amylase
Topic: Middle School 2
Agnes Loeser
St Francis of Assisi School 
Purpose: To determine if ragweed extract will inhibit function of the enzyme amylase.
Methods: I tested my ragweed extracts by heating a water bath and placing test tubes filled with starch and amylase which was treated with compound and Benedict's solution. After testing, I placed the tubes in a Spectronic 20 to see how much glucose there was.
Results and Data: I observed that raw ragweed extract and ragweed extract filtered once both increased the amount of glucose. Further, the ragweed root extract filtered 5 times and the ragweed seed and flower top extract decreased the amount of glucose.
Conclusions: I rejected my hypotheses stating that raw ragweed extract and ragweed extract filtered once would decrease that amount of glucose. I accepted the hypotheses that stated that ragweed root extract filtered 5 times and ragweed seed and flower top extract would decrease the amount of glucose.
10:45 - Exploring the Effect of Air Fresheners on the Lung Microbiome
Topic: Middle School 2
Charles Hummel
St. Francis of Assisi School 
This project examines the effect of air fresheners on the lung microbiome. Specifically, it examines the effect on bacterial growth, antibiotic resistance, motility, and biofilms. To determine bacterial growth, 24-hour cultures with fragrance and normal media were placed in the spectrometer. The antibiotic resistance test was done by spreading the bacteria on agar plates and placing antibiotic discs. Finally, the zones of inhibitions were measured. The results were that zones of inhibition were increased for the bacterial cultures exposed to aerosol. For the spectrometer test, 85% less light got through the tube, and in E.coli, 39% less light got through for the aerosol, indicating more bacterial growth. In the fragrance media, bacterial growth was higher, harming the balance of the microbiome. Additionally, the antibiotic resistance was lowered, making it harder for the lungs to fight off infections. Thus, the hypothesis that the lung microbiome would be harmed is supported.
11:00 - Exploring the Effects of Liquid Density on Earthquake Remediation.
Topic: Middle School 2
Mason Nunn
St Francis of Assisi 
The general purpose of my project is to test a liquids density on earthquake magnitude.
1. Determine how much movement the sand has with water. Waters density is 997 kg/m³
2. Determine how much movement the sand has with honey. Honeys density is 1360 kg/m3.
3. Determine how much movement the sand has with oil. Cooking oils density is 825 kg/m3.
The hypothesis stating the water will move middle amount is accepted because the water moved the median.
The hypothesis stating the honey will move least is rejected because the honey moved it the most.
The hypothesis stating the oil will move least is rejected because the oil it moved the least.
It seems there is a good middle to absorb shock therefore the honey ended up stopping the liquefaction 26% worse than my control, water. The cooking oil did the best at absorbing shock because its the middle density.
11:15 - Full Moons, Blue Moons, and Lunar Calendar: How Are They Related?
Topic: Middle School 2
Erica Wang
Meyzeek Middle School 
A full moon is the phase of the moon when we see a complete disk that is illuminated. A Blue Moon is an uncommon event that only happens about every 2.5 to 3 years. It is a second full moon that happens in a month. Furthermore, there exists a double blue moon which means that there are two blue moons in a year. This research project creates a comprehensive guideline for a Blue Moon based on data from 1960 to 2040. By doing so, the following four research questions were answered: the scientific definitions of full moons and Blue Moons; how the phases of the lunar cycle affect the Blue Moon; the timing of Lunar New Year based on a double blue moon; and how the solar calendar compares to the lunar calendar.
11:30 - PROP32589197
Topic: Middle School 2
Thomas Galla
St Francis of Assisi 
The purpose of this project is to increase the efficiency of a dye-sensitized solar cell. To use a paint that turns ultraviolet light into visible light. To analyze which types of fruit dyes are best for the cell. Test plate for conductivity; Take a dish add titanium dioxide add water. Tape three sides of the glass. Spoon a layer of titanium dioxide on the glass. Spread the titanium dioxide with an edge to create a thin layer. Bake the plate Extract the berry juice. Strain any large particles with cloth. Pour the juice over the plate. Rinse it with demineralized water. Carbonize the plate with a candle. Place several drops of iodine solution on the plate. add UV paint. The outcomes were that blackberries did the best overall reaching up to 175 millivolts with UV paint and that the fruits increased 1% to 14%
Saturday, April 17, 2021  12:00pm - 1:00pm
Lunch Break
Saturday, April 17, 2021  1:00pm - 2:00pm
What Comes Next: The Undergraduate & Graduate Research Experience
Find out what's next after middle and high school research experiences. We've assembled a panel of undergraduate and graduate student scientists to share their experiences and advice with Junior Academy participants.

ZaKylah Bryant  a sophomore at Kentucky State University. ZaKylah is from Lexington, Kentucky, and aspires to be an M.D and specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. ZaKylah is doing research with mentor Dr. Lai, gathering data for total number of cases over a period of time among all the Kentucky universities and comparing results.Their research is looking at total covid-19 cases data for 5 Kentucky counties, Kentucky and surrounding states, and 5 countries including the US. ZaKylah has created graphs to see the increase or decrease amongst each county, country, or university. The purpose of the data is to observe which area has more cases and figure out why they have many cases.

Kylea Garces, University of Louisville. As a first-generation college student and Filipino woman in science, Kylea has had a non-traditional path into the sciences. Her academic career started at a community college in her hometown in California as it was a cheaper alternative and allowed her to transfer to her dream college at University of Oregon. Although she had a rocky start feeling unprepared for university life, she found a passion for the sciences in a field-based mycology course. The more she learned about fungi, the more curious she became, which has led her to the University of Louisville to pursue my doctoral degree. At U of L she is working with Dr. Sarah Emery and Dr. Natalie Christian, focusing on fungal-plant interactions in Great Lake Dune ecosystems and their responses to global change factors, specifically nitrogen deposition. Furthermore, Kylea asks questions of how fungal communities assemble and what conditions allow for species coexistence. Despite a non-linear path into the sciences, Kylea is now funded by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship and continues to explore key plant relationships altered by the tiniest of fungal partners.

Bailey Harrod, Kentucky State University

Lars Hebenstiel attended Gatton Academy from 2018 to 2020, and afterwards decided to stay at WKU to pursue my undergraduate degree in Applied Math and in Physics. During his time at Gatton,  he started working with Dr. Ivan Novikov to study the Duffing Oscillator. Initially they did this numerically, and presented those results at the KAS 2019 meeting. After that, the research team applied for the Undergraduate Summer Research Grant from KAS and we were funded to do an experimental study of this oscillator.

Nick Koenig is a botanist at Eastern Kentucky University, interested in a wide range of botanical research projects, but specifically herbarium work, florisitics, and phylogenetics. Nick is headed to graduate school next year at the University of Cambridge.  website    Resume     CurriculumVitae

Miana Wallace is a junior biology major at Kentucky State University. Miana is from Kansas City, Missouri and aspires to be an M.D. She is doing research with mentor Dr.Khatiwada, and is looking to analyze the effect of radiation on healthy cells and cancer cells of the same origin. Ultimately, the purpose of this research is to determine how radiation effects differentiated and undifferentiated cells.

Saturday, April 17, 2021  2:00pm - 3:30pm
Afternoon Finalists Presentations
This session is open to all participants to watch the finalists' presentations
2:30 - An IoT and Machine Learning based system for the detection and treatment of plant diseases and deficiencies
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalst-Shraman Kar
duPont Manual High School 
The world population is also expected to increase by 35% over the next 40 years. A 119% increase in yield is required by 2050 to sustain life. To achieve this a significant increase in crop yields is required by eliminating the disease in the plants and keeping the nutrients level optimum. This project identifies crop diseases in a vast area of farmland by analyzing the video and pictures from a camera-fitted drone flying over the field and identify nutrient deficiency by the data from the IoT-enabled soil sensors. This project identifies a leaf from a video feed and then uses Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to identify the disease with an accuracy of 96% and recommends appropriate pesticide. A machine learning model using an Artificial Neural Network is created and trained on a nutrient dataset with 95% accuracy. It determines a particular fertilizer for the identified level of nutrients in soil.
2:45 - Characterization of Insulin-degrading Enzyme: Using Molecular Visualization Systems to Understand Substrate Recognition
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist- Aditi Kona
North Oldham High School 
Amyloid-beta and insulin, substrates of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), are important in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Phosphatidylinositol phosphates (PtdInsPs) bind to the polyanion-binding site to localize IDE to the endosome, the site of substrate degradation. Disrupting IDE localization will reduce insulin catabolism without affecting cytosolic IDE, thus slowing the progression of T2D. However, the polyanion-binding site partially overlaps the substrate-binding site, raising concerns that manipulating localization could disrupt substrate degradation. The purpose is to produce mutant IDE that does not bind to PtdInsPs but retains full enzyme activity. Molecular visualization systems were utilized to characterize interactions between IDE and substrate peptides. Structural analysis revealed that a majority of residues mediating substrate-binding are not found in the polyanion-binding site. Future studies including protein docking to definite residues to mutate. These studies offer insight into designing IDE-based therapies to control amyloid-beta and blood sugar concentrations.
3:00 - Development of semi-solid cell culture medium for providing 3D matrix support and enhancing the survival of organoids
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist-vedha balamurugan
Dupont Manual Highschool 
Liver organoids (LO) are basically miniature liver organs and used for various medical applications LO's are cultured using Matrigel, this provides 3D matrix for LO. I found that there are multiple problems with matrigel; one is that during the retrieval process, organoids are damaged by an enzyme solution. My research question was to find an alternative method to culture LO. After extensive literature review, I found 'methylcellulose (MC)'. I developed a semi-solid culture medium with MC. I prepared mice LO (n=10 mice) and cultured them for 10 days in the semi-solid, and Matrigel (n=20), I measured the cell integrity, viability, growth, several functional assays, and gene expressions (qPCR). I found that my semi-solid results were superior (P<0.05) to the current Matrigel. I next tested LO on the effect of 'Phyllanthus niruri(PN)' plant extract on cytoprotection. Overall my semi-solid medium is a novel method to culture organoids but also larger tissue.
3:15 - Methods to Improve the Efficiency of Solar Panels
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist - Shreyas Ghare
duPont Manual High School 
The main goal/purpose of this project is to increase the amount of power generated by a Solar Panel(SP) by creating multiple models/designs to enhance the power generation. For this project, two designs were constructed, the Static Model, the Tracking Model, and the Reflector module. The Tracking Model uses electrical components to always face towards light. The hypothesis of this project is that the Tracking SP with the Reflector module will generate more power than the other models. This hypothesis was proved to be true. The data was collected throughout the day in sunlight from 9am to 5pm with time intervals every two hours, using a Multimeter to detect voltage and current produced. Overall, the Tracking Model with the Reflector module generated the maximum power output with 6.2 Volts and 600 mAh per time interval, charging one 2000mAh rechargeable battery in four hours, and almost 3 batteries in 12 hours.
3:30 - Novel polymathic method for maritime threat detection
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist- Alexandra Heironimus
Dupont Manual Highschool 
The US Military uses active sonar to try to identify underwater threats. Sonar is great at detection, but it struggles significantly at identification. This project is about pairing passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) with a polymathic approach to provide clear identification of underwater threats. The polymathic PAM was used to solve a DTRA broad announcement regarding Water Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. The announcement calls for a way to detect WBIEDs, identify their direction, and estimate their time to impact. Data was generated from a physical simulation where model WBIEDs were driven into a recording float. The sounds were analyzed with time domain, frequency domain, and chaos theory to generate a list of 200 metrics that were reduced to 4 variables using PCA. The variables were then incorporated into an algorithm that fulfilled the requirements. This project demonstrated the usefulness of polymathic PAM in identification and shows the math that was used.
3:45 - SpeakUp: A Machine Learning-Based Speech Aid to Enable Real-Time Silent Communication for the Paralyzed
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist- Varun Chandrashekhar
duPont Manual High School 
There are upwards of 7.5 million people suffering from speech impairments caused by stroke, ALS, and cerebral palsy. To help these patients, we currently have few technological solutions such as eye/cheek trackers which are inefficient and expensive. To address these issues, SpeakUp, an ML-based speech aid, was developed to communicate voicelessly, merely by articulating words without producing any sounds. Although paralyzed patients cannot speak, their brain still sends EMG signals to the speech system. Recent advancements in Machine Learning and AI have added new ways in which these EMG signals can be processed. When a person tries to speak, SpeakUp captures and records the subtle neurological EMG signals generated from the speech muscles using modern sensors. SpeakUp was able to translate EMG signals into speech and enables paralyzed patients to communicate in real-time. This device has an accuracy of 80.1% and was developed for less than $100.
Project Video:
4:00 - The Effect of External Factors on Baseball- Abstract
Topic: High School finalists - afternoon presentations
Finalist- Kayoung Kim
duPont Manual High School 
This project's purpose was to observe the relationship between five external factors and the runs scored in baseball and provide a better understanding to the fans and teams about these relationships. Four of the external factors were atmospheric (temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, air density) and correlation analysis was performed to examine the relationship between them and the runs. The last factor was the presence/absence of full moons for which a t test was performed. Data was gathered using NOAA. After analysis, there was no significant evidence to support the research hypothesis that air density and air pressure will have a negative correlation with the runs scored, humidity and temperature will have a positive correlation, and the presence of full moons will lower the number of runs. However, weak trends in the hypothesized direction were discovered for three factors (temperature, air pressure, and air density).

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