Three Laramie High School students competed in the Wyoming State
Science Fair from March 3 through 5.

LHS juniors Alhena Islam, Arundathi Nair, and Joshua Arulsamy competed
in the Wyoming State Science Fair in Laramie, WY at the conference center. 

For the science fair, students had to share their research about a certain
question or problem that they wanted to solve pertaining to an area of
science, engineering, mathematics, or technology.

The science fair was for any Wyoming student in grades 6 through 12.
Schools from all throughout the state competed.

Three students from Laramie Middle School also competed at the Wyoming
State Science Fair.

The fair included two divisions: junior (for students in grades 6-8) and
senior (grades 9-12).

The students first competed at regionals and those who placed first through
third in the junior and senior divisions at regionals then competed at state.

Those students who placed first through third at state in the senior division
can now compete at a national competition.

The top three projects in the senior division from state were selected for
international competition.

Each project was done individually and was worked on for about two
months.

Students were scored by a specific panel of judges based on their poster and
presentation about their project.

Islam received second place in her category in the senior division.

Islam’s project was about converting Near Infrared Window Light Activated
Adenylate Cyclase to Near Infrared Window Light Activated Guanylate
Cyclase.

Adenylate Cyclase (AC) is a protein that produces the molecule cyclic
adenosine monophosphate (c-AMP). Guanylate Cyclase (GC) is another
protein that produces the molecule cyclic guanosine monophosphate (c-
GMP).

The two molecules c-AMP and c-GMP regulate different physiological
functions and the proteins that produce them can be activated by light.

“If we could control these proteins with light, we would be able to control
any process or physiological functions related to these molecules with
light,” Islam said.

There is an already light activated AC called IlaM5-AC.

With Islam’s project, she wanted to change IlaM5-AC to activated GC by
changing some of the amino acids in IlaM5-AC’s amino acid sequence.

Islam succeeded in changing the IlaM5-AC from AC to GC, but the protein
is not light activated yet.

“My favorite part was doing the actual research and learning to use the lab
equipment. I love science because there is so much to learn but also so
much to be curious about. It gives us the ability to learn about the world
around us and the phenomena that occur,” Islam said.

“I hope more students join [the science fair], especially from Laramie, because we have an amazing resource, the university,” Islam said.

Islam enjoys biology and genetics specifically and wants to go into the
medical field in the future.

“The [Wyoming State] Science Fair is a really amazing experience that not only allows you to do your own independent research, but also builds your
public speaking skills and answering questions skillfully,” Islam said.