Junior Snikitha Banda Shines at Science Fair Competitions

Junior Snikitha Banda Shines at Science Fair Competitions

Junior Snikitha Banda was once again named a finalist at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition awarding approximately $4 million in prizes each year. She was one of twelve students awarded the Grand Prize - Best of Championship Award at the 2022 Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Engineering Fair, where nearly 800 students present outstanding and innovative research. 

Her project is titled “Predicting Survival and Recurrence of Cancer Patients using MIBI Scans in Tumor-Immune Microenvironment.” Snikitha’s project, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Stanford Biomedical Data Science Department, constructed a computational platform to transform medical scan information into genetic biomarkers to improve the predictability of survival and recurrence rates for cancer patients. Her investigation of the origin site of cancer helped her discover four genetic biomarkers that have not been identified before. The developed system has consistently performed better than the current clinical model during testing, proving the efficacy of this technique.

Snikitha’s recent win was nothing new - the junior was named a Regeneron ISEF Finalist last year as well, for her project in which she developed a novel image augmentation technique to facilitate the diagnosis of cancer types and subtypes for patients. For the past three years, Snikitha has won the 1st award in her category at Synopsys and automatically qualified for the California Science & Engineering Fair. She has also been named a Poster Presentation Finalist at the 2022 Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and a regional finalist at the Bay Area BioGENEius competition, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes exceptional research in the biotechnology field, where she will be competing for the top three prizes later this month. 

Snikitha was a participant in Notre Dame’s Independent Science Research Program in her freshman and sophomore years. The class provides students with an opportunity to experience the rigors and rewards of higher-level scientific research while still in high school. Under the mentorship of a professor and postdoctoral scholar at Stanford’s Laboratory of Quantitative Imaging and Artificial Intelligence (QIAI), she first-authored a paper that has been accepted into the Nature Communications Biology Journal. 

Snikitha will advance to compete at ISEF from May 7-13 in Georgia, Atlanta. We wish her the very best!