Houston: Three Indian-American students have made it to the list of 40 finalists of this year's Intel Science Talent Search competition, the oldest and prestigious pre-college science competition in the U.S. designed to find the most promising aspiring scientists between ages of 16 and 18.

Sheela Krishnan, Sukrit Ranjan and Kiran Pendri were selected from a list of 300 semifinalists identified earlier this month by the Intel Corporation.

Krishnan, 17, of Suffern in New York, researched the antimicrobial activity of over 1,000 bacterial isolates from the honey sacs of honeybees (Apis mellifera) against seven pathogens for her Intel Science Talent Search project in microbiology. Her two-year study included Paenibacillus larvae, which causes American Foulbrood Disease (AFB) - the most virulent and fatal bacterial disease that devastates bee farms worldwide.

Bacterial isolates

She identified the most effective bacterial isolates and combined them into a probiotic cocktail for preventative therapy against AFB. This novel research on antimicrobial compounds may lead to the production of a broad spectrum of new antibacterial and antifungal compounds for combating multidrug-resistant diseases.

India-born Ranjan, 18, of Northbrook, Illinois, examined polar cloud formation on Mars in his earth and planetary science project for the Intel Science Talent Search competition, often dubbed as "Junior Nobel Prize". - PTI