In early January, Senior Nick Daley became just the sixth boy in Belmont Hill history to receive the semifinalist distinction in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS), which is the “oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors” in the United States. The Regeneron STS “recognizes and empowers promising young scientists in the U.S. who are creating the ideas and solutions that will address our world’s most urgent challenges,” extending the semifinalist accolade to just 300 students nationwide. In recognition of Nick’s accomplishments, he and the school have both received a monetary prize, and Belmont Hill now ranks among just 184 “STS Scholar” high schools.
At the Xie Lab, Nick worked on optimizing and investigating the potential applications of a technique called Diploid Chromatin Conformation Capture. This technique, the first of its kind, “maps the 3D structure of the DNA of single diploid cells, allowing researchers to map the cells that make up most of the human body and to see the vast diversity between cells.” According to Nick, “The idea is that how DNA folds affects which elements and segments of the DNA interact with one another, thus playing a large role in determining which genes end up expressed as proteins.” Looking forward to further research at the Xie Lab in the coming months, Nick notes that the lab hopes that the technology will provide information on the origins of several diseases as well as on the development of biological processes, such as memory.”
After enjoying his biology class in the Fourth Form, Nick viewed the school’s Advanced Science Research (ASR) program as “an opportunity to step out of the conventional classroom and do something not many high schoolers get the chance to do: experience a real lab setting where amazing research is taking place and get a head start on exploring research opportunities.” Nick added that he feels “really lucky” Belmont Hill gives students the ASR program option. Congrats, Nick!