Science Exchange Stories: Hannah Margolis, High School Scientist

May 29, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Scientist Spotlight |
Hannah Margolis prepping yeast cells for her project at Elko High School.

Hannah Margolis prepping yeast cells for her project at Elko High School.

Recently I interviewed an extremely unique Science Exchange user, Hannah Margolis. Hannah is a high school student studying the effect of stress on Sirtuin 2 proteins, which play a role in aging. Hannah won first place at the Elko County Science Fair and competed at Intel International’s National Science and Engineering Fair!

When I talked to Hannah, I was absolutely awestruck by her intelligence, initiative, and passion for knowledge. Check out how she approached this research problem below.

Q: How did you get the idea to look into the effect of stress?

Hannah: Last year I did a physics project, which involved blowing stuff up with alpha particles. When that was over I was looking into cosmic rays, but I found out you can’t do anything cool with cosmic rays. However, while I was looking into it I learned that people who are exposed to more cosmic rays are reported to live longer. That led to this idea called radiation hormesis – the idea that low amounts of radiation are good for you. I thought that was really weird.

I kept looking into it, and I found that any type of stress is supposed to reduce your chance of getting cancer and getting sick. It sounds great, but nobody uses it because we don’t know how it works. It’s a little bit scary to tell people to go subject themselves to low amounts of radiation – people wouldn’t do that. I wanted to try to figure out why it works, so we can someday implement it in society, because it’s a great proactive treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

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