The 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC), which concluded on May 8, was won by a 16-year-old girl from Ontario, Canada, who developed a super-antioxidant compound. The chemical is able to neutralize vast amounts of free radicals.
These are either atoms, molecules or ions that have one or more unpaired electrons. This property makes them extremely chemically reactive, and they usually damage tissues and cells. Antioxidants are used to combat these effects, and the newest member of the class is extremely good at it.
Janelle Tam, the winner of the Challenge, is a 12th-grade student at the Waterloo Collegiate Institute. She received her $5,000 prize from a jury of Canadian scientists, at the National Research Council of Canada's Ottawa Headquarters, EurekAlert
In the future, scientists hope to use the antioxidant compound to create improved anti-aging and skincare products that will be significantly more effective than they are today. The chemical could win Tam millions in patent revenues.