MMA Team’s Oral Cancer Screening Test Wins Honorable Mention in Exploravision Competition

Every year, Dr. Elizabeth Oakley’s freshmen Honors Biology students participate in the Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision Science Competition. ExploraVision challenges students to envision and communicate new technology 10 or more years in the future through collaborative brainstorming and research of current science and technology. The project engages students in problem solving, team-based learning, critical thinking, and communication skills and requires them to write a detailed research paper and design web pages to market their product. This year, Merion Mercy Academy had one team receive Honorable Mention, which means they were among the top 10% of all projects submitted. 

The students on the team are Annalise DeAngelis, Kaitlin McCullagh, Marykate Taddeo, and Nicolette Whitehawk and their new technology involves an at-home saliva test to detect oral cancer:

"This test will use Nucleic Acid Amplification technology to quickly detect traces of cancerous biomarkers in the patient's saliva. This test will be much cheaper and faster than a traditional computerized tomography which is currently used to screen for cancer. Saliva testing for cancer is a very new but promising field in the realm of cancer testing technology. Our product aims to seize this unique opportunity to help make cancer testing available to a much wider demographic of people and help diagnose cancer in its much earlier stages."

Exploravision web page

Dr. Oakley had this to say about the benefits of the program:

“ExploraVision is a challenging program for freshmen students because it requires a lot of collaboration, problem solving, and design thinking to achieve a viable end product. However, it is also a celebration of these same skills as we grow them throughout the first semester. I’m so proud each year to see the innovative projects they create and to see us grow closer as a class as we work through the challenges together.”

  • Exploravision
  • Merion Mercy Academy

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