Addiction Science Award Winners Announced

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NIDA presented Addiction Science Awards to three high school students during the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held last May in San Jose, California.

photograph of the Addiction Science Award winners, Kevin Knight, Ameya Deshmukh, and Joseph Yagoda, holding trophies Addiction Science Award winners: Kevin Knight (2nd place), Ameya Deshmukh (1st place), Joseph Yagoda (3rd place).

Ameya Ashish Deshmukh, a 16-year-old student at Upper Arlington (Ohio) High School, won first place for his project, titled "Rational Drug Design Methods for the Identification of a Novel Negative Allosteric Modulator of α4β2 Nicotinic Receptors." To identify molecules that bind to nicotine receptors and thus demonstrate potential for treating nicotine addiction, he used computerized molecular models to compare candidate compounds identified by previous research and tested the finalists on human cells.

Second place went to Kevin Michael Knight, a 17-year-old student at Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. The results of his project, "Improving ADHD Treatment: A Comparison of Stimulant Medication Treatment for Children with ADHD, Computerized Cognitive Training of Attention and Working Memory, and the Combination of the Two," suggest that some cognitive games could be useful, as an adjunct to medication, in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Joseph Hunter Yagoda, a 17-year-old student at the William A. Shine Great Neck (N.Y.) High School, won third place for "Risky Business: What Cognitive Factors Influence Risk Taking in the Academic Setting?" He investigated the calculations that go into a teenager's decision to cut classes.

Friends of NIDA, a coalition of individuals and groups that support NIDA's mission, awarded scholarships to the winners: $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place.