For the last several years, The Call and Post has followed the academic career of Jasmine Roberts, who is now an 18 year old, 12th grade student at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida.
She has over a 6.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale and ranked in the top 10 students in her graduating class of 550 students.
Because one of her objectives in life is to become a Medical Doctor (Surgeon General), she will graduate with 12 science classes on her transcript. She will also be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall.
Additionally, she is a member of Bible Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace and has logged over 1,000 community service hours.
Last month Roberts competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held May 9 through 15th in Los Angeles, CA. The Intel ISEF competition is the world’s largest pre-college science fair. She competed against 1,500 plus science projects from the USA, Canada and from 65 different countries (Japan, China, UK, etc.). She won 2nd place at the Intel ISEF and brought home over $12,000 from the competition. Roberts is a World Science Champion.
In addition, Roberts won the Wharton High School Golden Wildcat Award and Science Excellence Award.
For the past seven years, she has competed and placed in the state and regional science and engineering fairs. This year, 2011, her science project was titled: “Monocytic Gene Cell Therapy: Potential Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease.”
She is conducting “cutting edge” technology research at the University of South Florida (USF) Johnny Byrd Alzheimer’s Center under the mentoring of Dr. Marcia Gordon. Roberts has been conducting research investigation on a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) for the past four years.
She is literally conducting surgical (making incision on top of scalp and drilling holes into the skull) cutting technique procedures. Roberts went through extensive training in the lab to receive her own personal IACUC number. This IACUC number allows her to work on cutting edge projects in the lab that require conducting surgery.
Many probably remember Roberts from her 2006 science project titled “How Safe Is Fast Food Restaurant’s (FFR) Ice?” that received national recognition, garnering her an opportunity to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, CNN and Fox News.
Roberts has set several records as well:
One of the first students in Hillsborough County School District to be a Science World Champion by winning at the Intel International Science Fair.
First Wharton High student to win 1st place and MVP awards at the regional level for three consecutive years.
In 2010, she was Wharton High School first State Science Fair 1st place winner and MVP Champion.
First student in Hillsborough County Regional Science competition to win 1st place and MVP awards five times over the last six years.
First student to conduct surgical procedures at the Hillsborough Regional Science Fair.
This summer, she will be working for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) out of Bethesda, Maryland, on an eight weeks paid summer internship. After the eight weeks internship, she will present her findings to the NIH scientific committee.
Roberts research experiment investigates if amyloid-Beta (AB) plaque, which causes Alzheimer’s disease (AD), can be reduced when cultured cells are surgically injected (incision made on top of scalp and holes drilled into the skull) into Alzheimer’s Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) transgenic mice.
The purpose of this research experiment is to determine if CD11b+ monocyte cells cultured with cytokines (TNF- Alpha and IL4) can be used as a treatment to effectively reduce Alzheimer’s AB plaque pathology in the brains of transgenic mice model.
In the US, over 5 million Americans suffer with AD.
By next year, AD is expected to have nearly half a million new cases diagnosed. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. The increased numbers of people with Alzheimer’s will have a significant impact on our states’ budget infrastructures, healthcare systems, families and caregivers as the baby boomers generation (people born between 1946-1960) becomes older.
The significance of developing a new treatment for AD will save taxpayers millions of dollars in healthcare costs, improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s victims, and increase the survival rate of individuals.
Roberts hypothesized that, if gene cell therapy is used to surgically implant CD11b+ monocytes cultured with cytokines (TNF-Alpha and IL4) will induce (increase) the production of the proteases neprilysin (NEP) and insulysin (IDE), the amount of amyloid-Beta (AB) plaque in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will be reduced.
The results of this research experiment supported her hypothesis and revealed that when Alzheimer’s APP mice were surgically implanted with CD11b+ monocytes cells cultured with cytokines (TNFa and IL4), there was a significantly decreasing trend in AB plaque in the brain.
This means these cytokines can lower the AB plaque and possibly improve memory loss when injected as a therapeutic cell treatment.
An outstanding students and citizen, Jasmine Roberts is the daughter of Justus Roberts Sr., a Cleveland native and Warrensville High School alumni. His wife, Minnie, is from Louisiana. His mother, Mabel Watson, lives in Warrensville Heights and attends Affinity Baptist Church.
Jasmine would like to thank both Ms. Carmen Austin (Science Dept. Head) at Wharton High School and Dr. Marcia Gordon at USF for their patience and support. She has been investigating Alzheimer’s for the past four years and working on this experimental project for nine months during the summer and three - four days per week after school and some weekends.