GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Local biotechnology leader
MedImmune announced today that Seneca Valley High School student Yiwei Li has
received the distinguished "MedImmune Advancing Science for Better Health"
award for her ScienceMONTGOMERY project. The company sponsored the Montgomery
County science fair, known as ScienceMONTGOMERY, for the fourth-consecutive
year and presented the award to recognize the scientific work of a current
Montgomery County high school junior or senior. On March 16 at Gaithersburg
High School, MedImmune awarded Li for her project entitled "Discovering New
Splicing Forms in von Willebrand Factor to Understand Clotting Diseases."
Li's project was judged as the best example of an individual project with
biological relevance to the causes, treatment and prevention of human disease
in the medicine and health category. The team of MedImmune judges reviewed
individual projects in the fields of biochemistry, environmental sciences
(life), medicine and health, microbiology and biological sciences. Criteria
for evaluation included alignment with MedImmune's core values: an
entrepreneurial spirit, high integrity, collaboration and a strong work ethic.
"Li's work stood out from the very impressive collection of projects that
were submitted this year," said employee judge Toni Stiefel, director,
internal communications and community relations at MedImmune, "We believed
her presentation was well thought out, and her commitment to post-submission
research was commendable. These attributes and a sense of drive set Li apart."
As part of the project submitted, Li was interested in von Willebrand
disease (VWD) and understanding the application of alternative splicing in
individuals. VWD is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects the blood's
ability to clot. Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a protein that helps bind
platelets together to form blood clots, and was expected to have around 22 to
23 alternative splicing forms. With one splicing form already known, Li set
out to discover some, if not most, of the remaining forms. "By examining
splicing forms in VWF, I hoped to find and conduct research on those varying
mRNA sequences in order to help patients with VWD and to further promote an
understanding of the disease," said Li.
Li is continuing to conduct more experiments as part of her project and
hopes to conclude, before her graduation in June 2008, whether or not adipose
tissue exhibits an alternative splicing form. In the future, she intends to
pursue a career in the medical field working with VWD patients and advancing
this field of research. For her outstanding efforts, Li received a trophy, an
award certificate, a gift card and an offer for a six-week paid internship at
"One of our primary objectives at MedImmune is to promote and advance
health and science education," Stiefel said. "Our support of the Montgomery
County Science Fair gives us an opportunity to invest in our local community
and foster long-term development of students as they pursue careers in
science." The Montgomery County Fair sponsorship is an example of MedImmune's
commitment to support science and health education. The organization will
sponsor four different science fairs across the country in areas where
MedImmune has a large presence.
MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical
options for physicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to
advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company
is focused on cardiovascular/gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, oncology,
infection, respiratory disease and inflammation. With approximately 3,000
employees worldwide and headquarters in Maryland, MedImmune is wholly owned by
AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN). For more information, visit
MedImmune's website at http://www.medimmune.com.
CONTACT: Jamie Lacey of MedImmune, +1-301-398-4035