Grapes Put Science Student On The World Stage

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15th May 2008, 03:41pm - Views: 1035

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Media Statement


Attention: Editor/Chief of Staff

Grapes put science student on the world stage

A recently-graduated student from Shenton College may well be Western Australia’s next


Bindhu Holavanahalli, of Kingsley, will represent Western Australia at the prestigious 2008

sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge finals in San Diego in the United States

this June.

In addition to studying for her TEE in 2007, Bindhu worked on her project alongside mentor Dr

Aneta Ivanova from the Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of

Western Australia.

The Gifted and Talented Education student investigated the effects at a molecular level of

treating table grapes with chemicals sulphur dioxide and Resvertol.

“The table grape industry injects billions of dollars into the Australian economy, so the

research was immediately relevant,” she said.

“We found sulphur dioxide may increase the antioxidant capacity of grapes, and the

antioxidant levels, which are shown to have health benefits, reached their peak at about two to

three weeks of treatment.

“I have just found out the keynote speaker will be Arnold Swarzenegger and I haven’t been to

America before so I’m really excited.”

The 2008 sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge finals will be held at the Bio2008

conference, which is the largest biotechnology conference in the world.

Bindhu’s selection for the challenge follows her achievements in 2007, including a Certificate

of Excellence (for having 10 A-grades during Year 11 and Year 12) and earning a place in the

exclusive 99-Club with a TER of 99.8.

This year she began a double degree in law and science at The University of Western


Accompanying Bindhu to San Diego will be Warwick Matthews, teacher of Gifted and Talented

Education students at Shenton College, who initiated and encouraged Bindhu’s involvement in

the challenge.




While there, Mr Matthews will take part in a three-day training seminar about biotechnology in

the classroom and will have an opportunity to visit some top university research departments

and private laboratories.

He has also been invited to speak at the Biotechnology Institute of America about a new DVD

he is developing to introduce teachers to biotechnology.

Department of Education and Training Director General Sharyn O’Neill said Bindhu and Mr

Matthews were to be congratulated on their achievements.

“Mr Matthews and Bindhu are fine examples of the success achieved by Western Australian

public school teachers and students,” Ms O’Neill said.

“Bindhu’s selection for the sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge finals is

particularly remarkable when considered in the context of her excellent achievements in the

2007 TEE.

“Mr Matthews has striven to further the knowledge of his students and the knowledge of his

colleagues through his personal and professional passion for science.”


Contact: Carmen Carter, Media & Communications Officer, (08) 9264 5723

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