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Canterbury students advance in science fair competition

By Staff | Feb 11, 2009

Four students from Canterbury School in Fort Myers have earned the right to compete at the state science fair and the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Reno, Nev. Cape Coral resident Sarah-Marie Hopf will be one of the presenters at the fairs later this year.
In order to qualify for the upcoming science fairs, students had to place in the local Thomas A. Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair. Canterbury students not only earned “Best of Fair,” but were first, third and fourth runners-up.
Hopf was named fourth runner-up, while Hunter Smith received “Best of Fair.” Bahar Shah was first runner-up and Will Heise third runner-up.
“Our students did really well regionally. We had the two ‘Best of Fairs’ in the senior division and junior division,” said Kathy Edwards, spokesperson for Canterbury School. “Ten or 15 students are going to the state level.”
For the last year, Hopf has been working on a project to reduce the risk of a respiratory infection called Human Bocavirus (HBoV) which infects newborns around the world. Her research revolves around developing a vaccine from a protein that attaches to healthy cells.
Hopf is a Cape Coral resident and the daughter of Ellen Hoefer-Hopf and Thomas Hopf of the Cape. After Canterbury, Hopf wants to continue in the field of research at the university level.
Smith received “Best of Fair” for his study of MRSA colonization by pet therapy dogs in hospitals. He proved that the drug-resistant infection can be spread from dogs to humans and patients have a higher risk of contracting the virus.
“People in hospitals have an increased risk of colonizing,” said Smith in a prepared statement. “The dogs give MRSA to their owners and other patients and it continues out into the community.”
Two other Canterbury students placed well in the regional fair. Shah studied the use of monocytes rather than viruses to deliver gene therapy, while Heise found that drugs in the market for HIV-B were effective in treating HIV-C, a prevalent strain of the virus in Africa.
“These projects are just astonishing,” said Edwards. “It’s amazing things they are doing.”
The State Science and Engineering Fair will be in Lakeland, Fla., from April 15-17, and the international fair will be held May 10-15.