School News

Pranav Chhalliyil - 2016 Young Scientist Grand Champion!

When last we heard from Maharishi School student Pranav Chhalliyil he had been named the Iowa State Merit Winner for the 2015 Young Scientist Challenge. Pranav researched which oral cleaning methods are most effective, and studied these methods in an experiment with 88 subjects. He found that using activated charcoal to brush, followed by tongue cleaning was the most effective reducer of oral bacteria.

Intrigued by his results, Pranav decided to build on his research. Pranav hoped to learn more about activated charcoal, a substance his Indian ancestors have been using to clean their teeth for twelve generations with great success. With the help of 92 volunteers, he worked to discover what percentage of specific dental damaging bacteria was removed after bed-time brushing in three different cleaning methods using activated charcoal products: tooth brushing and tongue cleaning, gum and tooth finger rubbing, and tongue cleaning alone.

During the course of experimentation Pranav developed a form of activated charcoal derived from rice husks, a product typically considered waste material. This technology is simple, cost effective, efficient, microbiome friendly, even eco-friendly, and can be used in both developed and the developing countries. This product is particularly important for developing countries, where people may not have access to commercial toothpaste, or the means to purchase it.

Pranav presented his project, “Metagenomics, Digital and qPCR Molecular Analysis of Bed-Time Oral Brushing”, at the The State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) on Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, where he faced stiff competition from 300 young scientists grades 9 – 12. We are pleased to report that not only did Pranav’s hard work earn him an Intel International Science and Engineering Trip Award to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona – he is also the 2016 Young Scientist Grand Champion!

Congratulations, Pranav - we look forward to following your progress through High School!

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