Past Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Events

Congratulations to the 2016 winners of the Protein Modeling Event from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, New Jersey!


The 2016 Winners from West Windsor-Plainsboro
High School North in Plainsboro, New Jersey

A team from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, New Jersey took first place in the 2016 National Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event at the University of Wisconsin - Stout May 21 and 22. The victory earns each of the team’s three students a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), if they choose to apply to the university and are accepted.

Tim Herman, PhD, Director of the MSOE Center for BioMolecular Modeling (CBM), presented the scholarships to Jasen Zhang, Jason Yang and Roger Jin during the awards ceremony. The CBM founded the Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event and continues to be a national sponsor.

"This team put an incredible amount of thought and creativity into their model," said Dr. Herman. "We are extremely impressed by how well they – and all of the teams – did on the exam."

The 2016 Protein Modeling Event followed the true story of California twins Alexis and Noah Beery who were incorrectly diagnosed with cerebral palsy as toddlers, and for years experienced symptoms ranging from contorted posture and jerky movements to severe attention and breathing problems. At the age of 13, whole genome sequencing revealed that the twins carry mutations in a gene called SPR that encodes the enzyme sepiapterin reductase. Sepiapterin reductase enables the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and noradrenalin. While not a cure, a treatment protocol that includes supplements of dopamine and serotonin has been life-changing. Now 19, Noah and Alexis started college this past fall.

More than 4,000 teams took part in invitational, regional and state 2016 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event competitions, leading up to the national tournament at UW-Stout. Participants had to model different proteins related to the Beery twins’ diagnosis at each level of competition. Sixty high school teams competed in the national tournament. Before taking the exam, national competitors watched a personal good luck message recorded by Alexis Beery. Afterwards, the students thanked Alexis and Noah for sharing their story and wrote well-wishes on two giant posters which will be sent to the twins.





Past Event Resources

We encourage the continued use of the Molecular Stories that were the focus of the Protein Modeling Event. Links provided below will direct you to the pages created for these topics. Click Here to view a simple photo gallery that highlihgts some successful pre-build and on-site models from previous competitions.



2016 Event Resources

The 2016 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event focused on the Beery Twins and the proteins involved in the biosynthesis and subsequent signaling of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

2016 Learning Module - Sepiapterin Reductase and the Beery Twins



2015 Event Resources

The 2015 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event focused on the genome editing proteins Zinc Finger Nuclease, TALE Nuclease and CRISPR, and the genetic diseases they are being engineered to fix.

2015 Learning Module - Genome Editing Proteins



2012 Event Resources

The 2012 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event focused on Nic Volker, an incredibly resilient little boy and a team of physicians and researchers who who searched for an explanation for his mysterious bowel disease.

2012 Learning Module - The Nic Volker Story



2011 Event Resources

The 2011 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event focused on stem cells and the advancements made in reverting adult cells back into pluripotent stem cells by introducing several key proteins, including C-Myc, Sox-2, Oct-4 and Klf-4.

2011 Learning Module - Stem Cell Video 1

2011 Learning Module - Stem Cell Video 2

2011 Learning Module - Stem Cell Video 3



2010 Event Resources

The 2010 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event focused on influenza and the key virus surface proteins that are responsible for helping the virus enter the host cell. The event also covered a history of the influenza virus as well as an overview of the virus structure.

2010 Learning Module - Influenza


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