National Biology Olympics
Three high schoolers win the 25th annual competition
High schoolers Rotem Saban, Noam Fogel and Roba Natur are the winners of the 25th annual National Biology Olympics held at Bar-Ilan University. Each of the winners will receive a scholarship to the University's Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences.
Rotem Saban, 17, from Amit Hillel High School in Rehovot, won first place. She studied the effect of garlic extract on the activity of the urease enzyme from soybeans. The enzyme is found in the Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that live in the stomach and survive in an acidic environment thanks to the urease enzyme. "Due to the bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, we tried to study Allicin, found in garlic, as an alternative treatment for Helicobacter bacteria, and indeed, Allicin delays urease enzyme activity,” said Saban. "It is very exciting and great fun to be here. I proved to myself that I can succeed in doing what I love," added Saban, who was accompanied by her teacher, Ya’ara Schweid.
Seventeen-year-old Noam Fogel, from Rosh Haayin, won second place. A student at the Kfar Hayarok High School, she conducted research on the hindrance of staphylococcus bacteria reproduction by sulfur copper ions. Fogel found that copper inhibits staphylococcal bacteria reproduction. The higher the concentration of copper ion, the higher the inhibition of the bacterial culture in the measured range. Fogel was accompanied by her teacher Mia Lahav and her parents.
Third place went to Roba Natur, 17, from Kafr Qara, a student at Atid al-Nahda High School. Natur investigated the effect of different honey concentrations on the inhibition of E. coli bacterial culture in the lower intestine. The higher the honey concentration, the greater the inhibition. Honey causes bacterial death. Natur said that "this status is very exciting. I'm very happy that this is the first time I participated in a national Olympics. I'm very proud that I reached this stage". Natur was accompanied by her teacher Rajah Sharqiya.
The Biology Olympics is a competition for outstanding students studying biology, that aims to promote the study of biology at schools and on a national level.
This year, approximately 3,000 students from all over the country took part in the first phase of the competition. A third of all participants were female, as were five of the six finalists.
The winning certificates were awarded by Prof. Cyrille Cohen, Vice Dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, and Dr. Irit Sadeh, Supervising Coordinator of Biology Instruction at the Ministry of Education.
In addition to the final event, two more competitions were held: a poster’s exhibition, based on posters prepared by the semi-finalists and a photography competition named for Shabtai Weisberg.
1st place was awarded to "The Seen and the Invisible", by David Tzur, 10th grade, Academy of Music and Dance High School, Jerusalem
2nd place went to "The Forester’s Jay", Liora Karni, 12th grade, Modi'in Municipal High School, Maccabim Reut.
3rd place went to: "Butterfly Roams in Nature", Arin Al-Sayyid, 11th grade, Arin Al-Sayyid Multidisciplinary School, Al-Sayyid.