Science Talent Search winner Nithin Tumma-Intel PhotoA 17 year-old Michigan teen won the top award and $100,000 in the Intel Science Talent Search for his research on breast cancer, which could lead to more direct, targeted, and less toxic treatments.

Nithin Tumma from Fort Gratiot analyzed the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells and found that by inhibiting certain proteins, we may be able to slow the growth of cancer cells and decrease their malignancy.

Before beating out 1,800 other science stars for the prize, the Port Huron Northern High School student had already been accepted to MIT, Cal Tech and Stanford.

Tumma says he will use his winnings toward a college education.

The finalists join the ranks of other notable Science Talent Search alumni who over the past 70 years have gone on to win seven Nobel Prizes, four National Medals of Science, and 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

Second place honors and $75,000 went to Andrey Sushko, 17, of Richland, Wash., for his development of a tiny motor, only 7 mm (almost 1/4 inch) in diameter, which uses the surface tension of water to turn its shaft. Born in Russia, Andrey worked from home to create his miniature motor, which could pave the way for other micro-robotic devices. Andrey, a long-time builder of small boats, recently filed for a Guinness World Record for the smallest radio-controlled sailing yacht.

Third place honors and $50,000 went to Mimi Yen, 17, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for her study of evolution and genetics, which focuses on microscopic worms, specifically looking at their sex habits and hermaphrodite tendencies. The Honduras-born teen believes that through research such as hers, we may better understand the genes that contribute to behavioral variations in humans.

(Read more about other finalists at Intel’s website)

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