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First Place 2020/21

Alzheimer’s: Can astrocytic LRP1 rescue impaired hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents?

Competition Material

Elevator Pitch Video

Poster Presentation Video

Meet the team member


Kyuree Kim

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Grade 11 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, United States


Fun Fact: I’m the founder and president of LINK, an international neuroscience organization for teens and part of my school’s varsity cheer team! 

What's next for you: I will continue being the director of NeuroConnect, a biweekly journal club program under my organization, as well as an officer of Neuroscience Society and Medicine Olympiad club at my school. I’m also planning to conduct research under the mentorship of a neuroscientist throughout my senior year (grade 12). After graduating high school, I plan to major in neuroscience and take on the pre-med track in college.

Why did you choose your project?

I decided to propose a study that can help to find a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease, which is a neurodegenerative disease that kills more people every year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and essential hypertension combined. Even though it has been over a century since the disease was first discovered, developing a cure remains to be one of the hardest challenges in the medical field. Therefore, finding a way to rescue impaired neurogenesis, which is thought to cause the symptoms of the disease, could provide more insight into the therapeutic applications of promoting neuroregeneration to treat Alzheimer’s Disease.

What has IgNITE taught you?

IgNITE provided a wonderful opportunity for me to be creative and think like a scientist, even as a high school student. In addition to learning about the field of regenerative medicine in-depth, I was able to form meaningful connections with people I met through the competition which I am thankful for. Overall, developing a research proposal taught me the excitement of discovering a previously-unknown phenomenon and inspired me to pursue biomedical research in the future.

Do you have any advice for future competitors?

My advice for future competitors is to maximize the use of resources and opportunities igNITE offers you! You might be overwhelmed at first (at least I have) but as you read through the case package, attend workshops, and have meetings with your mentor, you will develop a clear idea of how to start and what steps to take next. Other optional events like socials and the proof-of-concept event were really fun and helpful, too. Most importantly, reach out, schedule meetings, and ask questions to your mentor. Having a mentor was one of my favorite aspects of this competition because you will always have someone to discuss with and ask guidance throughout your journey. (Shout out to my mentor Sarah for being the best mentor ever!)

Meet the team mentor


Sarah Larrigan

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University of Ottawa, Neuroscience Master’s Student, Second Year


Fun Fact:  My dog is named after a character from Atlantis the Lost Empire. (Kida!) 

Current research project title: Modelling Sifrim-Hitz-Weiss Syndrome using mouse genetics 


IgNITE is a great way to get some first exposure to the world of scientific research!! I encourage you to participate and see just how capable you are at understanding and participating in the research process!

My IgNITE journey

Mentoring the IgNITE competition has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I am amazed at the progress students were able to make from first learning about research techniques to developing a fully thought out and professional research proposal. Watching my team’s excitement and interest to pursue research reminded me of why I got interested in research in the first place. It was wonderful to engage with younger students and see their passion and understanding for research grow. By the end of the competition, I was amazed at the level and competency with which Kyuree (Team 48) presented her research.

A message to my team

Dear Kyuree, Congratulations on winning the IgNITE competition!!! I am so proud of you and I hope you are very proud of yourself for all the effort and dedication you put into your proposal as well as all the learning you accomplished throughout this competition! It was a pleasure to mentor you, watch you progress, and see your excitement for research grow. This win was well deserved, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next! Wishing you all the best, Sarah 

Advice for future competitors

Future competitors, I encourage you to see IgNITE as an incredibly exciting opportunity to learn about research and how careers in research can be used to address questions and issues in the world in innovative ways! Take your time to review what research exists, explore techniques, and ask questions when getting started making a proposal. Understanding the process of how to craft and present a research proposal to an audience is an invaluable skill you can gain if you put in the work! I encourage you to ask “why this technique over others?”, “how does this work?”, “what implications might this have” and any other why/how questions that come to mind. I also encourage you to reach out to your mentors - we are always happy to help you understand more about research (in and outside of the competition)! 

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