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Jamaica teen in Intel semis for Bx Science

While many other teen boys spend their afternoons engaging in sci-fi video games and movies, Bin Wu spent most of his free time creating science fact in a lab and the Jamaica student’s work has gotten national recognition.

The 18-year-old senior at the Bronx High School of Science was named one of the 300 national semifinalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent search program. Wu’s project involved the study of genes in the neurons of a microscopic worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans.

The student said the work he did with two Columbia University professors could go a long way in fighting human diseases.

“We studied how neurons are developed — it is important for stem cell research,” he said. “Disease in neurons are difficult to cure.”

Wu said he would go to the lab for two hours a day after school and four hours during the summer for his project. He said he got into neuroscience because there is a lot of unexplored areas in the field.

“Nervous systems are complex,” he said.

The teen said he is already looking to the future in working in the neuroscience environment. He has applied to many top science universities, including Columbia, MIT and the University of Chicago. His parents never went to college.

“My research is not really complete — I want it to continue. There are still a lot of things in neuroscience that we don’t know about,” he said.

Wu, who emigrated from China with his family four years ago, is one of eight Bronx Science students who made it to the semifinals, including Mario Rafael Morales of College Point. Dr. Jean Donahue, the assistant principal of science at the specialized high school, said she was proud of the work Wu and his classmates did for the competition and said the school is tied with another institution upstate for the highest number of 2011 Intel semifinalists in the country.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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