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Research

Overview

The unique research program at BCA, open to students from all academies, gives our aspiring students the opportunity to develop a research project based on their personal interests. Students at other high schools may have the opportunity to do research internships at cooperating professional labs, only students at our school have access to the latest scientific equipment to pursue their research interests internally, adjusted to their individual schedules.

Stem Cell Research

This laboratory is extremely well equipped. There is an array of state of the art instrumentation available to students who complete the prerequisite course "Research Applications is Molecular Biology and Genetics". Students are encouraged to develop research projects based on their own interests, to develop the habit of picking important scientific questions to answer. Our research education program has recently been improved by the access to and collaboration with the surgical lab at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (EHMC), a prestigious teaching hospital affiliated with the Mount Sinai Medical College in NYC. Selected research students who participate in the surgical training course learn live animal surgical techniques, and many have begun to use animals in their research, expanding the range of scientific questions that can be addressed. Our access to this and other prestigious medical centers in the NY-NJ area, encompassing doctors and scientists with a large and varied repertoire of cutting edge medical and educational techniques allows us to offer something of value to our colleagues and collaborators around the world. Students from the Stem Cell Research lab have won awards from the major science competitions, including Regeneron, Siemens, Microsoft's Imagine World Cup, NJ academy of Science, Young Science Achievers Program, HOSA, ISweep, Exploravision and Tech Crunch, among others.

Cell Biology Research

The students working in our Laboratory of Cell Biology study the molecular and cellular aspects of many disease states in an effort to improve or originate various treatment modalities. Students also address pressing global issues such as water purity or global food security. While researching in the areas of their particular interest, our curriculum encourages our research students to enter competitions with the goal of learning to effectively communicate and collaborate, an attribute necessary for a successful innovator, and one who can perform successfully in the future global arena. Students utilize eukaryotic cells, bacteria, yeast, and plants as their modal systems, and they have been awarded numerous accolades for their endeavors. During the 17-18 academic year, the laboratory had ten Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars and two Siemens Semi-Finalists. Previously, the first place winner of the Regeneron Science Talent Search carried out Cell Biology Research and won $250,000 during the 16-17 academic year. Two students gained eligibility to compete in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and several students won support from the YSAP program for their research.

Two students were chosen to attend the prestigious Simons Research Program at Stony Brook University as well as HOPP at Memorial Sloan Kettering held during the summer months. One young researcher was named a Presidential Scholar and another was named a Davidson Fellow and was awarded $25,000. One student was named a top Finalist in the National Cancer Research Competition, and our Oncology Olympiad team placed second at the international event held at Rutgers University. Two students represented New Jersey at the International Science and Engineering Fair, bringing home 2nd and 3rd in their respective categories representing the top 5% of 1720 young scientists from 85 countries. Those two students were selected to compete at ISEF as a result of their presentations at our inaugural BCA Research Expo (researchexpo.bergen.org). At our EXPO, over 250 BCA research students from all STEM disciplines presented to over 100 judges. Also during the 17-18 academic year, one student presented her research at the 100th Annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, and just one month later, another student presented his research at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual meeting also in Chicago. "

Two students each published their research in the journal, Anticancer Research which can be found online archived in PubMed. Twenty-three students travelled to Dallas to compete as International HOSA Finalists, a professional organization promoting the health care professions. Those students brought home numerous Top Ten Awards in the presence of over 10,000 students, including 1st place in Dentistry, 2nd place in Math, and 3rd place in both Medical Law and Ethics and Biomedical Debate. The BCA HOSA Chapter was named "Outstanding HOSA Chapter." Also admirable, because of their passion for STEM, the Cell Biology research students facilitated the Bergen SciChallenge Middle School Science Fair affiliated with the Broadcom Masters and the Society for Science and the Public. At that fair over 100 middle school students presented to over 40 judges, many of whom were research program alumni who returned from college and their professional lives to "give back."

Nano-Structural Imaging Lab

The mission of NSIL Biological Research is to introduce students to scientific inquiry, through research and instrumentation, and to provide transferable, hands-on experiences with the techniques, practices and perspectives of professional scientists; with an emphasis on microscopy as an analytical technique, especially electron microscopy. Students are eligible to participate in this program after completing one of the pre-requisite courses. Next, the student will develop a novel research project based on their own interests and current scientific literature, in cell biology, molecular biology, structural biology, biomedical research, or related fields. They will then learn the tools and techniques to carry out experiments on a topic of their choosing, acquire and analyze data, and present their results in written and oral form. Students from this lab have produced images that have been described as textbook quality by professionals in the field. These students have participated in the BCA Research Expo, Young Science Achievers Program, and Regeneron Science Talent Search, as well as publishing their findings in professional journals. Additionally, these students are well suited for careers in bio-imaging, histology, pathology, and other clinical research options.

Agriscience

This area of research utilizes the newly renovated environmental science center and greenhouse. Students from all Academies conduct research on the multifaceted discipline of agricultural science. Plants, animals, environmental resources, power and transportation, food science, and sustainability are areas for research within this broad discipline. All agriscience researchers become members of the student organization BCA Future Farmers of America and participate in competitive science fairs at the culmination of their projects. This year, one of the students had the top score in NJ for the World Food Prize Global Youth Summit. Students won five awards at the NJ State FFA this year.

Chemistry/Nanotechnology

Student researchers conduct hands-on lab experiments to synthesize, manipulate, analyze and visualize interesting nanoscale structures with the help of the state of the art equipment for interdisciplinary nanotechnology applications. Nanomaterials research projects may incorporate the utilization of Atomic force microscopy (AFM), Optical tensiometer, 4-point probes, Dynamic light scattering particle size analyzer/zeta potential analyzer, oxygen-free environment Glove Box, Fluorescent spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometry (FTIR), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and/or UVVis-NIR spectrophotometry. Students submit grant proposals for external funding and compete in various science competitions such as Siemens and Regeneron Science Talent Search. This year, two students won first and second prizes in the BCA Research Expo - Chemistry Category: one student won first prize at the New Jersey Academy of Science - Junior Academy Competition, and one student won first prize in the Alternate Energy category at Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) by American Chemical Society (ACS) - Chemagination.

Math Research

This program is aimed at preparing students for contests based on math research such as Siemens and Regeneron Science Talent Search. The students write papers in Combinatorics, Number Theory, Geometry among other areas of math. Every year our students win math grants through YSAP. They also take part in NJRSF,ISEF, AMC 10, AMC 12, AIME, USA Math Olympiad and the International Math Olympiad. This year our students won 17 YSAP grants in the field of applied mathematics. Recently a student won the USA Math Olympiad and a gold medal at the International Math Olympiad in Thailand. Another student won third place and a $40,000 scholarship at the Siemens competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Nano-Structural Imaging Lab

The mission of NSIL Biological Research is to introduce students to scientific inquiry, through research and instrumentation, and to provide transferable, hands-on experiences with the techniques, practices and perspectives of professional scientists; with an emphasis on microscopy as an analytical technique, especially electron microscopy. Students are eligible to participate in this program after completing one of the pre-requisite courses. Next, the student will develop a novel research project based on their own interests and current scientific literature, in cell biology, molecular biology, structural biology, biomedical research, or related fields. They will then learn the tools and techniques to carry out experiments on a topic of their choosing, acquire and analyze data, and present their results in either written or oral form. Students from this lab have produced images that have been described as "textbook quality" by professionals in the field. These students are well suited for careers in bio-imaging, histology, pathology, and other clinical research options.

Physics/Optics

This program provides opportunities for students to work on various projects and gain experimental and analytical skills to excel in Physics. Students can work on advanced Optics projects including Interferometry, Holography and Fiber Optics. There exists an opportunity to be involved in building a spectroscopy setup as well, which aims at measuring minuscule amounts of trace gases (CO2) using optogalvanic laser spectroscopy. The nature of the project can involve setting up experiments, data acquisition, data analysis, and software programming. There are also opportunities to work on theoretical physics- in particular Quantum Computing in collaboration with Stevens Institute of Technology. Students working on original research ideas are encouraged to submit their work to AAPT Conference or Journal of Undergraduate Physics as well as other competitions. Some of the previous lab members did work in collaboration with nearby universities such as Princeton, NJIT and Stevens Institute of Technology.

Experimental Psychology

This program uses research methods to study psychological issues. It involves the use of laboratory techniques to explore the mind and behavior, as well as the study of perception, memory, thinking, learning and problem solving. Students study the cognitive and neural bases of behavior, statistics, research design and advanced neuroscience. They learn about comparative psychology, physiological psychology, behavioral analysis and development.