Sophia, 16, was selected as the senior level Most Creative Award winner with her partner, Thomas Chow, for their project on “Engineering the Surface Microstructure of Implants to Enhance Bone Production”.
Q: What was the main focus of your research?
SL: We cultured stem cells on different patterned surfaces to determine which pattern could grow the most bone. This was to address a problem in bone implants; sometimes, they loosen or wear because the bone cells and implant do not interlock correctly, so we tested to see whether a patterned surface could improve the bone matrix-implant interlocking.
Q: Why did you select this topic?
SL: I knew people who had worked with microtopography to regulate cell functions before. I haven't studied bones before, but it was brand new and sounded interesting. I wanted to apply what I knew people had done before to an area that was new to me.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of this project?
SL: The most challenging aspect of completing the project was probably formatting it correctly. The content was already there because we had written a manuscript before, but formatting it into a presentable poster was a challenge.
Q: Have you entered other science fairs?
SL: I have never entered a science fair before, but I enjoyed the Contra Costa one thoroughly!
Q: With your first science fair completed, would you consider doing another one?
SL: Yes! I will probably enter next year's fair with a new project!
Q: What are your favorite classes in school?
SL: AP Computer Science and AP Chemistry
Q: When you aren’t working on bone implant research, what do you like to do?
SL: Outside of school, I like watching sports (gymnastics and basketball). I also play piano and chess for fun and mental stimulation.