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June 13, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

Research leads student to awards, college entry

A LOCAL student's research of an anti-diabetic compound in digitalis, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, has won her an international scientific prize.

Duan Peiyan, a Grade 12 student of the No. 2 High School of East China Normal University, is very interested in anti-diabetic research because her grandfather has had the disease for about a decade.

She spent most of her time in scientific research instead of preparing for the college entrance exam, which lowered her grades.

Her father has argued with her about that, but the woman says she has insisted on pursuing her scientific dream.

"I must do the scientific research even if I failed to get into a top university," she said.

She won the first-place grand award in biochemistry in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the second-class prize of the American Physiological Society with her research findings last month.

She also has been admitted by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University without taking the entrance exam as a result of her excellent work, which brought an inspiring lesson to other students and parents in the city.

When Duan visited her grandfather, who lives in Changzhou in the east Jiangsu Province, she found local people eat digitalis soaked in wine to relieve the symptoms of diabetes.

She speculated that the traditional Chinese herb contains ingredients which act against diabetes. To support her idea, she developed a computer program to analyze the molecular mechanism of the action.

Some people suspected that the young student might get some help from adults such as her family members for the scientific research. On the contrary, she fought with her parents for the opportunity to work on the research.

Duan started her research about two years ago. At first she just used the weekends for it. But she became more obsessed and spent more time on it.

Her grades fell behind as she spent most of her time on the research.

Her efforts, however, paid off. She was recently admitted by the SJTU's life sciences department without even having to sit for the exam.

He Xiaowen, principal of the school, admires her. She said many young people forgo their interests to get high scores on academic tests, but Duan insisted and succeeded.

She said Duan's story shows life has many choices and passing the college entrance exam is not the only one.


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