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NCI Intern Competes in Biology Olympiad

A National Cancer Institute high school intern was one of 20 students nationwide selected to compete in the first-ever USA Biology Olympiad.

Maureen Murphy-Ryan, 17, of Frederick, attended an intensive, 10-day training course in biology and biological laboratory research at George Mason University beginning May 28. A series of written tests then determined which four students were to go on to represent the U.S. in the International Biology Olympiad this summer in Minsk, Belarus. She placed in the top eight and is an alternate to the IBO.

Murphy-Ryan said her experience working as a Werner Kirsten Student Intern in NCI's Biological Mechanisms Laboratory in Frederick prepared her to take on the scientific challenge of the competition.

Maureen Murphy-Ryan

"I competed in a series of written tests against 5,000 students for the spot," she said. "I think my experience here in the lab last summer and afternoons during the school year really helped. I've learned so much working on my project where I'm studying second and third members of the polo-like kinase family that regulate cell division."

A senior at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Murphy-Ryan plans to major in biology at Duke University. She said she looks forward to pursuing a career in cancer research.


"Cancer research is really appealing because you're working not for yourself but for a higher purpose," she said.


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