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'Grey's Anatomy'-Inspired Research Project Wins North Jersey Student National Award

Nicole Moiseyev won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her Grey's Anatomy-inspired project, The Effects of the Orphan Drug Act on Rare Disease Research and Drug Development: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design.
Nicole Moiseyev won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her Grey's Anatomy-inspired project, The Effects of the Orphan Drug Act on Rare Disease Research and Drug Development: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design. Photo Credit: Contributed

An 18-year-old student from Closter is among 20 from across the country being recognized for a recent project that has the capacity to benefit society.

Nicole Moiseyev won a $10,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her "Grey's Anatomy"-inspired project, The Effects of the Orphan Drug Act on Rare Disease Research and Drug Development: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design.

"Even more so than the scholarship itself," said Moiseyev, a rising Duke University freshman, "the recognition awarded to me for my research encourages me to continue pursuing projects such as this one with equal vigor and dedication throughout my undergraduate years and beyond."

Deena Shefter of Ridgewood, 17, was also among the 20 students being recognized. She won a $25,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her project, Modeling the Effects of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide on Pre-Osteoblast Differentiation.

Propelled by her fascination with rare diseases, Moiseyev took advantage of several opportunities for biological research in high school. She discovered the Orphan Drug Act (ODA), which provides companies with economic incentives to develop drugs for rare diseases could help solve this problem. Fascinated by the concept of the ODA, she conducted her research project to quantify the law’s effects.

Moiseyev found through her research that 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from nearly 7,000 rare diseases identified thus far, totaling more than 25 million Americans. However, less than 500 drugs for rare diseases, implying most remain untreated, she said. The average price for such a drug is more than four times the cost of other diseases’ treatments, she explained.

The student hopes to pursue a career in medicine while training to become a physician and help conduct clinical trial research on rare diseases, so she can learn how to lead such research herself one day.

The 2018 Davidson Fellows will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 28.

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have completed significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature and music. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship has provided more than $7.5 million in scholarship funds to more than 300 students since its inception in 2001, and has been named one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships by U.S. News & World Report. It is a program of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth.

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