Tag Archives: Youth Science Canada

Youthful Canadian inventors win awards

Two teenagers stand next two each other displaying their inventions. One holds a laptop, while the other holds a wireless headset.
Vinny Gu, left, and Anush Mutyala, right, hope to continue to work to improve their inventions. (Niza Lyapa Nondo/CBC)

This November 28, 2023 article by Philip Drost for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) The Current radio programme highl8ights two youthful inventors, Note: Links have been removed,

Anush Mutyala [emphasis mine] may only be in Grade 12, but he already has hopes that his innovations and inventions will rival that of Elon Musk.

“I always tell my friends something that would be funny is if I’m competing head-to-head with Elon Musk in the race to getting people [neural] implants,” Mutyala told Matt Galloway on The Current

Mutyala, a student at Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton, Ont., created a brain imaging system that he says opens the future for permanent wireless neural implants. 

For his work, he received an award from Youth Science Canada at the National Fair in 2023, which highlights young people pushing innovation. 

Mutyala wanted to create a way for neural implants to last longer. Implants can help people hear better, or move parts of the body they otherwise couldn’t, but neural implants in particular face issues with regard to power consumption, and traditionally must be replaced by surgery after their batteries die. That can be every five years. 

But Mutyala thinks his system, Enerspike, can change that. The algorithm he designed lowers the energy consumption needed for implants to process and translate brain signals into making a limb move.

“You would essentially never need to replace wireless implants again for the purpose of battery replacement,” said Mutyala. 

Mutyala was inspired by Stephen Hawking, who famously spoke with the use of a speech synthesizer.

“What if we used technology like this and we were able to restore his complete communication ability? He would have been able to communicate at a much faster rate and he would have had a much greater impact on society,” said Mutyala. 

… Mutyala isn’t the only innovator. Vinny Gu [emphasis mine], a Grade 11 student at Markville Secondary School in Markham, Ont., also received an award for creating DermaScan, an online application that can look at a photo and predict whether the person photographed has skin cancer or not.

“There has [sic] been some attempts at this problem in the past. However, they usually result in very low accuracy. However, I incorporated a technology to help my model better detect the minor small details in the image in order for it to get a better prediction,” said Gu. 

He says it doesn’t replace visiting a dermatologist — but it can give people an option to do pre-screenings with ease, which can help them decide if they need to go see a dermatologist. He says his model is 90-per-cent accurate. 

He is currently testing Dermascan, and he hopes to one day make it available for free to anyone who needs it. 

Drost’s November 28, 2023 article hosts an embedded audio file of the radio interview and more.

You can find out about Anoush Mutyala and his work on his LinkedIn profile (in a addition to being a high school student, since October 2023, he’s also a neuromorphics researcher at York University). If my link to his profile fails, search Mutyala’s name online and access his public page at the LinkedIn website. There’s something else, Mutyala has an eponymous website.

My online searches for more about Vinny (or Vincent) Gu were not successful.

You can find a bit more information about Mutyala’s Enerspike here and Gu’s DermaScan here. Youth Science Canada can be found here.

Not to forget, there’s grade nine student Arushi Nath and her work on planetary defence, which is being recognized in a number of ways. (See my November 17, 2023 posting, Arushi Nath gives the inside story about the 2023 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Awards and my November 23, 2023 posting, Margot Lee Shetterly [Hidden Figures author] in Toronto, Canada and a little more STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] information.) I must say November 2023 has been quite the banner month for youth science in Canada.

Arushi Nath gives the inside story about the 2023 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Awards

A grade nine student from Toronto, Ontario, Arushi Nath has had quite the year,

[Arushi Nath] With Lloyd Longfield, Federal Member of Parliament representing Guelph (picture courtesy: Lloyd Longfield) [downloaded from https://hotpoprobot.com/2023/11/02/science-and-innovations-in-canada-reflections-from-the-nserc-2023-prizes-ceremony/]

Nath describes one of her latest outings in a November 3 (?), 2023 posting on the HotPopRobot website (more about the website later), Note: Links have been removed,

On 1 November 2023, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) awarded this year’s top NSERC Awards at a ceremony held at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. As a back-to-back winner of the top awards of the 2023 and 2022 Canada-Wide Science Fair, I got an invitation to join this ceremony. You can learn more about my research on developing algorithms for asteroid astrometry and photometry to measure the success of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission [emphasis mine] at www.MonitorMyPlanet.com

I could not attend the ceremony last year, but I was determined to attend it this year, and I am glad I did. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about the exceptional research carried out in Canada on issues ranging from astronomy to microbiology, ocean sciences, wastewater and machine learning and how it impacted us. I even got to meet and talk to several researchers, ask them questions, and understand what it takes to produce impactful research.

[description of awards and recipients]

Some Suggestions to Raise a STEM-ignited NexGen in Post-COVID-19 World

I think the research investments and funding should start earlier, to even include school students. We are the most connected generation ever and are aware of scientific research and developments happening in the world, be it in the area of astronomy or marine sciences, microbiology or machine learning. Our learning pathways have also changed. COVID-19 lockdowns spurred the use of Zoom, online courses and virtual conferences to learn about a new topic, connect with researchers, collaborate with them, undertake projects and then present them virtually – while attending school. STEM conversations and collaborations are starting earlier and need to be encouraged so that more students pursue STEM, undertake curiosity-driven projects, and maintain this curiosity and scientific temper no matter what career paths they choose.

It calls for greater investments in school science project scholarships, new and expanded science centres, research collaboration platforms, open-data sharing, allowing students access to conferences, creating community maker spaces, opening up high-speed computing facilities to students, more science festivals, fairs and competitions, and encouraging greater diversity in science.

Congratulations to Arushi Nath!

Nath’s award-winning work

I had to dig a little bit for more information about her 2023 award-winning work. First, there was this in a May 19, 2023 Youth Science Canada news release,

Nearly 900 people gathered in Edmonton at the 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair awards gala to celebrate the curiosity and ingenuity of Canadian students and announce the fair’s top winners. A total of 220 students shared more than 1.6 million in scholarships, awards, and prizes with the top awards in Discovery and Innovation going to Elizabeth Chen (Edmonton) for a project on alternative cancer treatments and Arushi Nath (Toronto), with a project on planetary defense [emphasis mine]. Arushi, who also won best project award at last year’s CWSF, becomes the first back-to-back best project award winner since 1989 – 1990.

Nath’s September (?), 2023 posting on her MonitorMyPlanet website fills in some gaps, Note: Links have been removed,

The 34th European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) was held in Brussels, Belgium. It brought together 136 promising young scientists aged 14 to 20, from 36 countries across the EU and beyond for a five-day competition.

I was honored to represent Canada as  Winner of 2023 Top Award at the 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

My project “Developing Algorithms to Determine Asteroid’s Physical Properties and Success of Deflection Missions” won the second prize [at EUCYS]. I was the youngest contestant and the prize winner.

It was a wonderful experience to interact, form friendships and partners with bright young scientists across the world.

I found the descriptions of Nath’s work about ‘planetary defence’ and her paper is about algorithms for deflecting asteroids more accessible.

By the way, congratulations to Elizabeth Chen (Optimization of CAR-T Cell Therapy using RNA-Sequencing Analysis for Biomarker Identification) who won a top award at the 2023 EUCYS., as well as, an award from 2023 Canada-Wide Science Fair.


I highlighted the HotPopRobot endeavour (it’s a Nath family project) in a July 1, 2020 posting, “Toronto COVID-19 Lockdown Musical: a data sonification project from HotPopRobot” and mentioned them in an August 7, 2020 posting, “News from the Canadian Light Source (CLS), Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) 2020, the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) 2020, and HotPopRobot,” scroll down to the ‘HotPopRobot, one of six global winners of 2020 NASA SpaceApps COVID-19 challenge’ subhead.

You can find HotPopRobot here.

Feel good about Canadian youth and science—a couple of stories

I’ve got two items (h/t to Speaking for Canadian Science) which highlight exciting, recent news about Canadian youth and science. The first item concerns Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair and the impact Canadian young scientists had on the 2015 edition of the fair. From a May 15, 2015 news item on CNN,

A Vancouver [Canada] high school student was awarded first place for engineering a new air inlet system for airplane cabins to improve air quality and curb disease transmission at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.

Raymond Wang, 17, invented a system that improves the availability of fresh air in the cabin by more than 190 percent while reducing pathogen inhalation concentrations by up to 55 times compared to conventional designs, and can be easily and economically incorporated in existing airplanes. Wang received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

“Using high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics modeling and representative physical simulations, Raymond’s work has significantly enhanced our understanding of how disease-causing pathogens travel via circulating airflow in aircraft cabins, and has also helped him to develop multiple approaches for reducing disease transmission in these types of settings,” said Scott Clary, Ph.D., Intel International Science Engineering Fair 2015 engineering mechanics category co-chair and electromechanical engineering manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Team Canada had a superior showing at this year’s fair with 11 students winning awards.

Nicole Ticea, 16, also of Vancouver, received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000 for developing an inexpensive, easy-to-use testing device to combat the high rate of undiagnosed HIV infection in low-income communities. Her disposable, electricity-free device provides results in an hour and should cost less than US$5 to produce. Ticea has already founded her own company, which recently received a US$100,000 grant to continue developing her technology.

“With a focus on science, technology, education and math, key pillars of a competitive and robust Canadian economy, these students showcase how competitive Canadians can be on a global scale,” said Nancy Demerling, marketing manager, Intel Canada.

Additional awards were presented to the following Canadian students:

  • Candace Brooks-Da Silva (Windsor, ON): Second Award of $500, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Top Award of $5,000, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Alternate for CERN trip, European Organization for Nuclear Research-CERN; Second Award of $1,500, Engineering Mechanics
  • Emily Cross (Thunder Bay, ON): First Award of $1,000, American Geosciences Institute; Fourth Award of $500, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Benjamin Friesen (Grimsby, ON): Award of $5,000 for outstanding project in the systems software category, Oracle Academy
  • Ann Makosinski (Victoria): First Award of $500, Patent and Trademark Office Society; Fourth Award of $500, Energy: Physical
  • Daniel McInnis (Ottawa): Third Award of $1,000, Computational Biology and Informatics
  • Aditya Mohan (Ottawa): First Award of $2,000, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists; First Award of $3,000, Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Janice Pang (Coquitlam, BC): Fourth Award of $500, Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Amit Scheer (Ottawa): Second Award of $1,500, Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Duncan Stothers (Vancouver): Sustainable Design In Transportation, First Award $2,500, Alcoa Foundation; Second Award of $1,500, Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc.; Second Award of $1,500, Engineering Mechanics
  • Nicole Ticea (Vancouver): USAID Global Development Innovation award of $10,000, U.S. Agency for International Development; Award of $1,200, China Association for Science and Technology (CAST); Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Best of Category Award of $5,000, Biomedical and Health Sciences; First Award of $3,000, Biomedical and Health Sciences; Cultural and Scientific Visit to China Award, Intel Foundation Cultural and Scientific Visit to China Award $8,000
  • Raymond Wang (Vancouver): First Award of $1,000, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Third Award of $1,000, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Best of Category Award of $5,000, Engineering Mechanics; First Award of $3,000, Engineering Mechanics; Cultural and Scientific Visit to China Award, Intel Foundation Cultural and Scientific Visit to China Award $8,000

This year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured approximately 1,700 young scientists selected from 422 affiliate fairs in more than 75 countries, regions and territories.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, approximately US$4 million was awarded.

Two provinces seem to have dominated the Canadian field, Ontario and British Columbia. The lack of representation at the award-winning level from the other provinces may signify a lack of awareness in the Prairies, Québec, the North, and the Maritimes, about the festival and, consequently, fewer entries from those provinces and territories. On a whim, I searched for an Intel Canada presence and there is one, in British Columbia. Interesting but not conclusive. In any event, congratulations to all the students who won and those who participated!

There was another science fair, this one, the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF), took place in Fredericton, New Brunswick (Maritimes). From a May 12, 2015 news item on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) news website,

Almost 500 provincial science fair winners are competing for more than $1 million in prizes, scholarships and awards this week in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Fredericton.

The Currie Center at the University of New Brunswick is packed with booths in neat rows with topics ranging from preventing ice drownings to better ways to carry a kayak.

Paransa Subedi, a Winnipeg student, is studying how much sugar gets into your blood stream from breakfast cereal.

“We know that Rice Krispies have very little added sugar, but the thing is its all starches, so over time it has a high glycemic response,” she says, as she cuts up a cereal box to add to her display.

Judging is happening all day on Tuesday. Four judges will look at each project and they will reach a consensus to determine the winner.

Judith Soon, a national judge, says 50 per cent of the mark is for the “creative spark.”

“The most important part is being creative and original and it has to be their idea,” she said.

A May 15, 2015 CWSF news item by Dominic Tremblay for the Youth Science Canada (the CWSF’s parent organization) website lists the 2015 winners of the top prizes,

The Best Project Award went to:

Austin Wang from Vancouver, BC, for his project: A Novel Method to Identify Genes in Electron Transfer of Exoelectrogens. Austin’s project identified genes in bacteria that are responsible for generating power in a microbial fuel cell. His work is making an incredible impact on understanding the biology of how these systems work.

Platinum Awards of $1,000 were awarded to: 

Rebecca Baron from Vancouver, BC, for her project: Root Microbiomics: The Next Big Thing? Her project looked at using a common household plant to remove toxins from the air. She found that the microbes in the root of a particular plant are highly successful in removing airborne formaldehyde. Her work has the potential to make an impact on bioremediation of indoor air quality.

Marcus Deans from Windsor, Ontario for his project: NOGOS: A Novel Nano-Oligosaccharide Doped Graphene Sand Composite Water. For his project he created a filter out of sugar and sand that can successfully clean water to commercial standards, all with materials under $20 total. He hopes that his work can go a long way to providing cheap and effective water filters for the developing world.

Congratulations to the top prize winners, winners, and all the participants!

You can find the full list of 2015 award recipients here. where you will find several other provinces also well represented.