Lynbrook High School Senior Daniel Kramer has earned a coveted spot as a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, considered the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. He is the school’s seventh semifinalist in 12 years, and the only boy. He follows in the footsteps of 2009 graduate Jing Jian and 2010 graduate Mary Magilligan, making this the third year in a row that the school has produced a semifinalist.
Danny worked on his research, entitled “A Novel Approach to the Analysis of Circadian Biology Using Scale Invariance of Multiple Coupled Oscillations,” this past summer at The Rockefeller University, under the guidance of mentor Alex Proekt, M.D., Ph.D.
“Last summer I started doing some general reading and I became very interested in circadian biology, the field of study of how organisms control patterned behavior, such as when to sleep, when to eat, what time of year to mate,” explained Danny. “I also became interested in the genetic mechanisms that control these patterns. I started doing some more in-depth reading in online journals, which led me to begin asking my own questions and developing my experimental ideas.
“My research involved studying ‘arousal,’ a term used to describe the different levels of brain activity in organisms, in this case mice. A mouse with high arousal would be very excitable and active, and a mouse with low arousal would be slower, more sluggish, and not move as much. We studied mice that were bred for high and low arousal. We used mathematical models, largely taken from physics applications and radio-wave analyses, to find patterns in their behaviors on a second-by-second basis. We were very successful in finding these patterns.”
Through this research, Danny found strong patterns in biological data that were once considered “random.” These unique patterns could have strong correlations to genetic factors, which could possibly lead researchers to be able to identify genetic conditions and abnormalities more easily.