Lynbrook High School senior Daniel Kramer was one of 300 students nationwide to be named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, considered the most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. This is the third year in a row that Lynbrook has produced a semifinalist.
“I’m very excited to be a semifinalist,” Kramer said. “I’m especially happy that this is the third year in a row that Lynbrook High School and the Lynbrook Research Program have produced a semifinalist. I’m proud to uphold such a wonderful legacy.”
Kramer’s research is entitled “A Novel Approach to the Analysis of Circadian Biology Using Scale Invariance of Multiple Coupled Oscillations.”
“Circadian Biology is studying in organisms what controls repeated behaviors,” Kramer said. “It controls when to sleep, wake up, eat, reproduce and what time of year to migrate. This is all controlled by a region of the brain that gets signals from the eyes. It is affected by how much ambient light there is, telling the brain the time of day. Behavior follows a wave of activity. Through the daylight hours it goes up and reaches a peak, and then it goes down to sleep and very little movement.
Kramer used lab mice to help conduct his research.
"My research used a math analysis to compare rhythms to high arousal vs. low arousal. I used mice that were bred for high arousal and low arousal through eight generations," he said. "We studied when they ate, drank water, walked around the cage and scratched themselves … The research showed that every motion that was made was not random behavior. It was synchronized to some pattern of the brain controlling it. It showed an overall pattern for each mouse. It was a fingerprint for behavior. I’m hoping in the future this could be used as a non-invasive way of picking up genetic indicators.”
Kramer conducted his research this past summer at The Rockefeller University, under the guidance of mentor Dr. Alex Proekt, Ph.D. He worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., five days a week for eight weeks. His lab head was Donald W. Pfaff, Ph.D.
Kramer began doing research during his junior year. He read background information on the Internet and in popular science magazines, finding biological timings and genetic influences "fascinating." He even plans to be a pre-med student in college, majoring in either chemistry or physics.
“I always enjoyed the idea of discovering things no one ever knew before,” he said. “I always enjoyed reading about it. My leisure magazine since I was 10 years old was Scientific American. I also enjoy the fact that there is a lot of potential to help other people.”
Lynbrook High School Principal Joseph Rainis said he is quite proud of Kramer’s accomplishments.
“He’s a wonderful young man,” Rainis said. “He has a wonderful way about him. His humility is disarming. His work ethic is fantastic. Lynbrook High School is blessed to have him and have helped him blossom. He’s a gem. He is multi-faceted and this is a credit to him and his ability to set goals and attain them. He is editor of our school newspaper and he volunteers outside the school. If there’s anything to the saying, ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,’ this is it.”
Intel finalists will be announced Jan. 26.
Lynbrook High School had this year, under the guidance of research teacher David Shanker.