Last year Lu went to New Jersey to visit his friends, Allen and Jason Lee. While he was there, a close family friend of the Lee’s was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Lu and his friends then took the time to research the treatments that were available. They did not find what they were looking for.
“When we looked online for what treatments were available, we were surprised that once prostate cancer had metastasized and spread to other parts of the body there were very few effective therapies,” said Lu.
They then took matters into their own hands. Lu and his friends identified a new mechanism of prostate cancer. Next they tested a compound that could target this mechanism and become a more effective therapy for prostate cancer.
This year over 1,500 projects were submitted for this competition. Lu’s prostate cancer project was one of the 60 selected for the regional finals.
“When I found out that I was a Siemens regional finalist, I jumped up in the air during class. For my entire life, I thought that Siemens competition finalists were some of the greatest scientific minds in the high school community and to think that I was selected to compete was beyond amazing,” said Lu.
Lu and his team then presented their projects at Georgia Tech, one of the six sites of the regional finals. Although only a select few were chosen to participate in the regional finals, they decided to not be complacent.
Despite all of the excitement surrounding the regional finals, Lu and his team earned a trip to the national finals by winning their competition at Georgia Tech.
The highly anticipated national finals took place on Dec. 6 at George Washington University. At George Washington, Lu and his friends battled for the $100,000 scholarship that would go to the winner.
Lu’s team did not win, but they still won a $20,000 scholarship for finishing in fifth place. “Although we didn’t place as high as we wanted to, it was still nice to know that we got it this far and that our science project actually meant something to other people. Winning the scholarship was also a plus,” said Lu.