Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Pranav Chhaliyil named as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar and Ms. Barbara Hays, the Teacher of Merit.

On January 9, the Society for Science & the Public named the top scholars of the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, recognizes and empowers the most promising young scientists in the U.S. who are creating the ideas and solutions that solve our most urgent challenges. The Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have announced Pranav Chhaliyil as one of the 300 high school seniors named as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars. Pranav is a senior at the Maharishi School, Fairfield, Iowa to receive this great honor. His mentor and teacher Ms. Barbara Hays also was nominated as the “Teacher of Merit” by Regeneron.

The selection as scholar is a great honor, and signifies talent and promise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These scholars join a distinguished group of alumni that includes Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, entrepreneurs and innovators who, were named among the top 300 competitors in this program as seniors in high school.

Regeneron Science Talent Search scholarEach scholar, selected from 1,964 entrants, receives a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 going to his or her respective school, resulting in $1.2 million in total scholar awards from Regeneron.

The scholars, who hail from 184 American and international high schools from 38 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and two countries abroad, were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 2,000 students. Each of the 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000.

Pranav’s Findings

Pranav from his 7th grade had been involved in scientific research on oral microbiome. Last year he conducted research on the effect of sugar causing dental damage and was curious to know if white sugar or unprocessed brown-sugar made any difference. To his surprise, he found that eating unrefined sugar is good for preventing systemic diseases like eating unrefined starches like whole grains. The balance of good and bad bacteria of the oral microbiome was significantly disturbed with white sugar. However while eating unrefined sugar, which is rich in polyphenols, prevented biofilm formation in the tooth.

“I actually invented a new mouthwash that’s rich in polyphenols and it includes my previously developed Nano charcoal. Middle school children volunteered to be his subjects for the research involving DNA sequencing of oral microbiota. The subjects who ate porridge that contained the white sugar got protection from the early colonizers by using the mouthwash.” He plans to commercialize the product as a healthier alternative, Pranav explained.

We Are All Proud

“We’re very proud of him, he set a great example to other students because he is not only highly achieved, but we see the support that he gives to his peers here at the school as well. He has kept his feet on the ground. So, just deep pride,” said Dr. Richard Beall, Maharishi School Principal.

Pranav has some words of advice for students. “Never belittle your small ideas that popup in your brain. If you think how it will help others, it will magically self-develop and will impact the lives of many people more than you can think of. “I always believe that in order for you to succeed, it’s important for you to also give back,” said Pranav.


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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
Fairfield, IA 52556