Regeneron Scholars


On January 22, 2020 it was announced that Holly Cheng is one of the only 40 finalists selected from 1,993 highly qualified entrants. The finalists were selected based on their projects’ scientific rigor and their potential to become world-changing scientists and leaders.

“This year’s finalists are part of the next generation of brilliant minds who – through the pursuit of science and innovation – can address many of society’s most urgent challenges and help improve our world,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and a Science Talent Search top winner (1976). “These students are joining a community of highly talented STS alumni who have gone on to make incredible contributions to their chosen fields and our society. If one, two or even a handful of these impressive young scholars make discoveries that impact our world, that could make all the difference.”

Holly will travel to Washington, D.C. in March where she will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more awards and will also have an opportunity to interact with leading scientists, meet with Members of Congress and display their projects to the public.

On January 8, the Society for Science & the Public announced the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. 

Congratulations to Greeley science research students HENRY ASA (Deriving the Value of Cryptocurrencies Through an Analysis of 95 Global Currencies) and HOLLY CHENG (Modulating Fetal Globin Levels Using CRISPR/Cas9 in an in vitro Mouse Cellular System).

The Regeneron Science Talent Search provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges. This year, research projects cover topics from medicine and health to environmental science.

“We are inspired by the incredible energy and passion of every scholar who is using research to make the world a better place,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public, Publisher of Science News and 1985 Science Talent Search alum. “These young students will be the key to unlocking solutions to many of our world’s most pressing challenges.”

The 300 scholars were selected from 1,993 applications received from 659 high schools across 49 states. Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists and hail from 192 American and international high schools in 39 states and Guam.

Deriving the Value of Cryptocurrencies Through an Analysis of 95 Global Currencies

Henry Asa

How/why did you choose your research topic?
I’ve always had a fascination for business, foreign exchange markets, and the basic principles of capitalism.  When I heard about Greeley’s Science Research Program, I figured that this could be an incredible outlet for me to pursue my passion in business while also gaining valuable research experience with a university professor.  As our world continues to innovate and question long-standing norms (such as currency), I wanted to conduct research in this relevant, but confusing, field!

Please explain your research. . .in a few sentences.
I wanted to determine a way to mathematically compare the valuations of cryptocurrencies with those of traditional currencies.  By gathering statistics about the overall capitalization of these currencies, the number of people using those currencies, and the productivity (GDP) of each currency/country, I created a model that compares these values between currencies.  I then applied that model to 95 traditional currencies over a 38-year period. I found that most nations’ currencies generate a result between 0 to 13,000, but due to cryptocurrencies’ high capitalizations and relatively small user-base (network), their values far exceeded 13,000 by factors of 10 or even 100, making them significant outliers to the trends that conventional currencies follow.  I also explored the Quantity Theory of Money which states that the velocity of a currency is a constant that is proportional to a currency’s money supply and GDP. However, when analyzed over a 38-year period, all 95 countries’ currencies did not maintain a constant velocity value, effectively refuting this component of the Quantity Theory of Money.

What do you enjoy most about the Science Research class?
I love the idea that students in high school can get individualized research experience on a topic they are genuinely fascinated by.  Despite my topic’s ‘unconventionality,’ my research teachers were supportive throughout the process, and in the end, I met an incredible professor at Columbia Business School who guided me with my project.  Science Research has been one of my most educational high school experiences simply because of the fact that so much of the responsibility lies on the student. For those interested in science, or simply interested in conducting research with an expert in a fascinating field, I highly recommend that they explore Greeley’s Science Research program!

What else - clubs, organizations, teams and activities - are you involved in at Greeley?
I am a varsity team captain for the Chelsea Piers Water Polo team in Stamford, CT.  At Greeley, I am an Editor-in-Chief of The Greeley Tribune, a Treasurer for STAC, Co-President of the Federal Reserve Challenge Club, and a Peer Leader.  I am also a Maker and love joining Engineering classes to help other students with their projects during my free periods.

Your plans for life after Greeley?
I’m not really sure what I’m going to do after Greeley, but I hope to study mechanical engineering in college and combine my education with classes in business and entrepreneurship.  I would love to someday start my own company, perhaps in the cryptocurrency space or another less-volatile industry. Regardless, I am excited to conduct research in interesting subjects and meet new people at college!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
An entrepreneur!

Modulating Fetal Globin Levels Using CRISPR/Cas9 in an in vitro Mouse Cellular System

Holly Cheng

How/why did you choose your research topic?
Sickle cell disease is a textbook example of a genetic disorder. In my freshman biology class, I watched a documentary about a young girl who was unable to play because she had this disease. After obtaining an opportunity to work on finding a treatment, I was compelled to work harder for the children who cannot reach their full potential, and for the communities in which the birth of a child is a cause of fearful anticipation instead of joyous celebration.

Please explain your research. . . in a few sentences.
Sickle cell disease is caused by defective hemoglobin. We can treat this disease by increasing the expression of functional hemoglobin to replace the defective hemoglobin. My project aims to increase functional hemoglobin by removing specific regions on the mouse genome using CRISPR/Cas9. 

What do you enjoy most about the Science Research class?
I’ve learned a lot of incredible things from my classmates. For example, on the first day of class, I walked in on a debate about the different Cas proteins, which acquainted me with the world of gene editing. The teachers are super supportive and make science research one of the best classes at Greeley. 

What else - clubs, organizations, teams and activities - are you involved in at Greeley?
I am part of the Science Olympiad team, Student Teacher Admin Council (Student Govt.), Chamber Orchestra, Cross Country, and Spring Track & Field. 

Your plans for life after Greeley?
I plan to go to college, explore biology and other fascinating disciplines, and continue to do research.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A biologist! I want to help decipher the endlessly complex rules of nature.