FORT WORTH -- Shree Bose lost her grandfather to lung cancer two years ago.
That inspired the Fort Worth teen to take on complex cell research that she hopes will bring a better understanding of how to treat drug-resistant cancers.
Bose, 17, found that a metabolic enzyme affects ovarian cancer cells and can cause them to become resistant to certain treatments. She discovered a way to improve treatment when such resistance happens during chemotherapy.
This week, the Fort Worth Country Day School senior's project won the grand prize in the first Google Global Science Fair. Bose, who wants to be a doctor or medical researcher, said the work only furthers her desire to help others. "I just want to do something small to make the world a better place," Bose said.
The award comes with $50,000 in scholarships, an expedition to the Galapagos Islands and her choice of a visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, to Scientific American magazine's offices in New York or to Google's research site in Zurich, Switzerland, or a virtual one-year internship with the LEGO Group.
The winners were announced Monday at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Alakanada Basu, a professor of molecular biology and immunology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth who is studying drug-resistant cancers, and doctoral student Savitha Sridharan mentored Bose through her project, though the research was her own.
"I'm so proud of her," Basu said. "We really challenged her on this project, and she just excelled. She's doing not only well in science but in swimming and violin. Whatever she does, she has the desire to excel."
Bose has presented work related to her project at science fairs, winning honors in the Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair. She was one of 15 finalists in the Google competition, which included students from Canada, India, Singapore and South Africa.
Last summer, while conducting research for her project, she also volunteered at John Peter Smith Hospital.
"I worked on a floor with some really nice nurses who taught me a lot about patient interaction," Bose said. "So I got to see that side of medicine, too, that wasn't the research side. It was a really incredible summer."
She is wrapping up a five-week summer residency program involving chemistry research through the University of Texas at Austin. Next week, she'll be in Slovakia to present her ovarian cancer research at another international science fair.
The teen hasn't decided whether to take on any big research projects this year -- other than deciding what college to attend (Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities are among the top of her list).
For now, Bose said, she's just trying to catch her breath from Google's fair. "It's been such a whirlwind for the past three days ... totally amazing," she said.
Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700