4 St. Michael seniors sign letters of intent _lowres

Ashton Fox

A Kenilworth Science and Technology School eighth-grade student is one of only two U.S. students selected to participate in an international science Olympiad at the end of the month in The Netherlands.

Ashton Fox will travel to The Hague to compete in the International Environment Sustainability Project Olympiad.

The contest features more than 120 students from 59 countries and will take place May 31 to June 5.

Ashton’s project, which also competed in the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair, studies the effects near-infrared light has on different gold nanoparticles. The research is important because gold nanoparticles can help fight cancer, a news release from the school said.

When the gold nanoparticles are injected into the human body, they can be attached to a protein that will guide them to a cancer cell, the release said. Then, the gold nanoparticles and the cancer cells can be destroyed with near-infrared light, which has no harmful effects on surrounding, healthy tissue.

Discovering which gold nanoparticles are most vulnerable to near-infrared light can lead researchers to find more effective ways to fight cancer.

Ashton’s science teacher at Kenilworth, Elkhan Akhundov, said Ashton did his own research in learning how to procure the different nanoparticles.

“He is a very bright young man, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I fully understand how he did this,” Akhundov said.

This is the second consecutive year that a Kenilworth student has been accepted to an international science competition. Last year, Jalen Scott was the only U.S. student invited to participate in the Golden Climate International Environmental Project Olympiad in Kenya, where he won the grand award.