High School Senior Reaches Semi-Finals of Intel Science Talent Search for Radiology Research at SUNY Lab

Elie Bochner's research centered on improving medical x-ray scans so that patients would not be exposed to dangerously high radiation dosages.

Feb 13, 2008 — Elie Bochner, a senior at Yeshiva University High School for Boys/The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, was designated a semi-finalist in the 2007-2008 Intel Science Talent Search for research he conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook during the Simons Summer Research Program. Of the approximately 1,700 students who entered the Intel competition, also referred to as the “Junior Nobel Prize,” Bochner stands among the elite 300 as a semi-finalist.

The senior’s summer research centered on improving medical x-ray scans so that patients would not be exposed to dangerously high radiation dosages, as the procedure must produce sufficiently large signals to overcome the electronic noise associated with the image readout process. Bochner was charged with improving a new x-ray detector patented by Dr. Wei Zhao, professor in the departments of biomedical engineering and radiology at SUNY-Stony Brook.

“I enjoyed the research, especially because it has applications that can benefit society,” said Bochner, who—along with the high school—received a $1,000 award for the achievement.

The Intel Science Talent Search is America’s oldest science research competition for high school seniors. It provides a national stage for the country’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.

Dr. Zhao’s detector, which amplifies the signal without increasing the radiation dosages, contained a layer that was not perfectly flat, and as a result, the signal gain, which depends on the thickness of that layer, was not uniform. High-quality images cannot be produced unless the layer is sufficiently flat. Bochner developed a method to correct that imperfection while maintaining the radiological capabilities of the detector.

Bochner spent multiple all-nighters a week as part of the prestigious Simons Summer Research Program conducting his experiments, preparing chemical solutions, and working to achieve conclusive results on his project. He also dedicated time to the more mathematical oriented but theoretical component of the research.

“Elie is one of the most motivated students we’ve come across,” said Ed Berliner, PhD, executive director of science management and clinical professor of physics at YU, who also teaches at YUHS-Boys. “He’s always curious, always driving to the end.”

Aside from his talents in the engineering and research field, Bochner is president of his high school debate team, editor of one of its magazines, The Scope, and associate editor of the school newspaper. After graduation, he intends to study engineering, possibly at Yeshiva College.

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