CORTLANDT, N.Y. – The Davidson Institute of Talent Development has chosen Jazz Munitz, of Cortlandt Manor, as a 2015 Davidson Fellow.
Munitz won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for his project, Microfluidics-Facilitated Synthesis and Characterization of Apoptosis-Inducing Low-Cost Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapeutics. He is one of only 20 students from across the country to receive this honor.
Munitz created nanospheres designed to carry a new molecule for cancer therapy directly to a tumor, inducing cancer cell death. With this approach, a small dosage of drug can be administered, in turn reducing or eliminating the side effects common with chemotherapy.
The drug is encapsulated in nanoparticles, making them unrecognizable by the body's immune system. When the nanoparticles reach a tumor, cancer cells engulf the particles, acting as a Trojan Horse that allows the drug to kill the cell from within.
“To the body, and cancer, they simply look like materials which cancer cells need for continued replication, but actually contain a previously untested drug which tells cancer cells to die,” Munitz said.
Munitz said he was inspired by his late grandfather.
“Ten years before I was born, my grandfather passed away from metastasized prostate cancer. For such a brilliant man to be taken by such a horrid disease certainly made me question the fairness of life,” he said. “When I became interested in the field of nanomedicine, and had the first sparks of an idea for a cancer treatment using nanoparticles, I could only imagine my grandfather would have been proud.”
Munitz graduated from Hendrick Hudson High School and will attend Cornell University. He will major in biology and society, which will allow him to study the physical sciences as well as medical ethics.
The 2015 Davidson Fellows will be honored Tuesday at a reception in Washington, D.C.
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have created significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature and music.
For more information, visit www.DavidsonFellowsScholarship.org.
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