Four SIR Students Present Virtually at JSSF 2020 | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Four SIR Students Present Virtually at JSSF 2020

December 2, 2020

This year, the 118th Japan Super Science Fair was held virtually for the first time over three weekends in November by the host school, Ritsumeikan High School, located in Kyoto, Japan. IMSA was one of four schools in the United States that were in attendance, with four SIR students and two co-leads from the SIR Program. JSSF had students showcasing their research projects via recorded video presentations using Zoom from 63 schools in 25 different regions of the world. In addition to the recorded presentations, all schools got the chance to have one student present live via Zoom.

The event began with an opening ceremony and a special lecture from three professionals in the astronomy field who shared their experiences and passion for the future of astronomy—this first weekend also included a science discussion, a science showdown, and a teacher exchange. IMSA faculty members Dr. Sowmya Anjur and Dr. Dave DeVol captured their Zoom audience with a presentation on IMSA’s adaptations in response to COVID-19.

Week two followed with a science talk, the science project presentations, and a social event. The three science project presentations from IMSA students were from their ongoing SIR projects. Seniors Emily Shao and Cindy Mu presented their investigation on the Immediate Early Gene Expression in D1-SPNs During a Striatum-dependent Reinforcement Learning Task. Senior Brandon Park presented in the live and recorded sessions with his project on the Development of Double-Controlled Drug Eluting Stents with Nanotechnology. Senior Utsa Bhattacharyya presented her project on The Expression of ERE and NFkB & Characterization of Stem Cell Properties in ER+ Breast Cell Lines. The entire collection of conference papers/presentations by IMSA students can be accessed through Digital Commons at

During the final weekend the results of the science showdown was announced, a cultural event was held along with the closing ceremony and farewell session for all the participants. The success of the teacher exchange in week one prompted Dr. Anjur and Dr. DeVol to host one of the four teacher sessions in this final week. After the closing ceremony, they held a teachers’ conference on Collaborating to Develop Our Vision for the Future of Science Education. They presented a topic on “Scientific Research and the Effectiveness of Presentation.”