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CEB 2017 Summer Student Is Semi-Finalist in Regeneron Science Talent

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Mr. Nikhil Sardana, senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, Alexandria, VA, has been named a semi-finalist in the Regeneron 2018 Science Talent Search.  This award placed Mr. Sardana’s work in the top 300 of the 1818 entrants in this competition.  Each semi-finalist, or “STS Scholar” was given a $2,000 award, with an additional $2,000 going to his or her school.   According to the Web site ( for the award, “Alumni of STS have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and National Medal of Science.”

Mr. Sardana with his poster “Deep Learning Classification of Alzheimer’s from fMRI Data” at the 2017 NIH Summer Research Program Poster DayMr. Sardana’s project was titled, “Classifying Alzheimer’s from fMRI Data Using Convolutional Networks”, and used publicly-available data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) to  investigate the feasibility of classifying the spectrum of cognitive impairment that includes the classes of Normal, Early Mild Cognitive Impairment, Late Mild Cognitive Impairment, Significant Memory Concern, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  A reliable classification tool could assist doctors in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, giving patients more time to plan and make decisions before the disease progresses to advanced stages. Mr. Sardana began the project as a summer student in the Communications Engineering Branch of NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications and presented his preliminary work at the NIH Summer Research Poster Day on August 10, 2017. After completing his summer internship at NIH, he expanded and continued the project on his own initiative, leading to his work being ranked in one of the top categories of the STS competition.