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The Future of Science is in Good Hands - Alltech Young Scientist Winners Announced

From left to right: Dr. Inge Russell, director of the Alltech Young Scientist Competition, Gillian Johnson, undergraduate winner of the Alltech Young Scientist Competition and Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech vice president, during the Closing Session of the 30th Alltech Annual International Symposium in Lexington, Ky, USA, May 18-21. Credit ZimmComm.

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Investigations of a rainbow trout gene (Kpna7) and its role in oocyte and early embryonic development and a novel β-Defensin Gene Cluster expressed in the reproductive tract of both mares and stallions were the two winning topics in this year’s Alltech Young Scientist Program, announced today at Alltech’s 30th Annual International Symposium, which draws to a close today in downtown Lexington, Ky., USA. There was unprecedented interest in the competition this year, with more than 8,500 participants, representing the future generation of animal, human and plant health scientists. The Alltech Young Scientist Competition, now in its ninth year, attracts the brightest scientific thinkers from colleges and universities around the world awarding students for their scientific discoveries.

Eight regional winners representing Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America came to Lexington, Ky, to present their research before a panel of international judges for the graduate grand prize of $10,000 and the undergraduate grand prize of $5,000.

This year’s graduate winner was Lei Wang, originally from China and currently completing her PhD studies in the United States with West Virginia University. Wang’s research work focused on novel functional roles of oocyte-specific nuclear transporter (Kpna7) in relation to developmental competency of rainbow trout oocyte and early embryo.

Gillian Johnson, from the University of Limerick, Ireland, was the winner of the undergraduate competition. Johnson’s research work focused on comparative genomic identification and characterisation of a novel β-defensin gene cluster in the equine genome.

“This year’s competition brought eight outstanding students from around the globe to Lexington to compete. It was an exciting competition and the research papers presented all have the potential to result in significant improvements for the field of aqua, plant technology and environmental science,” said Dr. Inge Russell, director of the Alltech Young Scientist Program.

From left to right: Dr. Inge Russell, director of the Alltech Young Scientist Competition, Lei Wang, graduate winner of the Alltech Young Scientist Competition and Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech vice president, during the Closing Session of the 30th Alltech Annual International Symposium in Lexington, Ky, USA, May 18-21. Credit ZimmComm.

“This year’s winners proved yet again the importance of investing in education and fostering innovation in our young people,” said Suniti Mujumdar, Alltech’s manager of education initiatives. “It is vital to recognize and harness the power of these talented young minds because the future of scientific innovation is in their hands.”

To participate in this program, students wrote a scientific paper that focused on an aspect of animal health and feed technology. The first phase of the program included a competition within each competing country, followed by a zone competition. The winners of each zone moved on to a regional phase and the regional winners competed in the global phase.

The Alltech Young Scientist Program is currently taking applicants for its 2015 competition. To enter, visit the website at www.alltechyoungscientist.com.

“Alltech is very proud and honoured to assist scientific graduates from around the globe in their research, and we encourage students to embark on their scientific journeys with us” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech.

Alltech’s 30th Annual International Symposium is hosting 2,000 delegates from 60 countries in Lexington, Kentucky, May 18-21, 2014. Keep up with the latest happenings at the Symposium through alltech.com/symposium. Join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #agfuture. Photos, interviews and videos are available for download at www.alltech.com/press.