December 2, 2020
This year the 118th Japan Super Science Fair was held virtually for the first time over three weekends in November, by host school, Ritsumeikan High School located in Kyoto, Japan. IMSA was one of four schools from the United States in attendance with four SIR students and the two co-leads from the SIR Program. JSSF had students showcasing their research projects via recorded video presentations using Zoom from 63 schools in 25 different regions of the world. In addition to the recorded presentations, all schools got the chance to have one student present live via Zoom.
The event began with an opening ceremony and a special lecture from three professionals in the astronomy field that shared their experiences along with their passion about the future of astronomy. This first weekend also included: a science discussion, a science showdown and a teacher exchange. IMSA faculty members, Dr. Sowmya Anjur and Dr. Dave DeVol captured their Zoom audience with a presentation on IMSA’s adaptations in response to COVID-19.
Week two followed with: a science talk, the science project presentations and a social event. The three science project presentations from IMSA students were from their on-going SIR projects. Seniors, Emily Shao and Cindy Mu presented their investigation on the Immediate Early Gene Expression in D1-SPNs During a Striatum-dependent Reinforcement Learning Task. Senior, Brandon Park presented both in the live and recorded sessions with his project on the Development of Double-Controlled Drug Eluting Stents with Nanotechnology. Senior, Utsa Bhattacharyya presented her project on The Expression of ERE and NFkB & Characterization of Stem Cell Properties in ER+ Breast Cell Lines. The entire collection of conference papers/presentations by IMSA students can be accessed through Digital Commons at https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/.
During the final weekend the results of the science showdown was announced, a cultural event was held along with the closing ceremony and farewell session for all the participants. The success of the teacher exchange in week one prompted Dr. Anjur and Dr. DeVol to host one of the four teacher sessions in this final week. They held a teachers’ conference on Collaborating to Develop Our Vision for the Future of Science Education after the closing ceremony and presented a topic on “Scientific Research and the Effectiveness of Presentation.”