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CWSF 2016 - Montreal, Quebec

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Emily Isabelle - Emily Rafuse is in grade 8 French Immersion at Elizabeth Sutherland School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her favourite extracurricular activities include riding horses and agility training with her dog. She also has an interest in music, playing piano for the past 10 years and the flute in her school band. Emily and her partner Julia Sampson, working together for the past two years, have won awards for “Passion for Science” and “Best Chemistry”, researching the effect of e-cigarettes on motor neurons and ALS. They are now very excited to showcase their work at CWSF. Emily has always been interested in neuroscience, starting from her first presentation on the brain and spinal cord to her class in grade 3, to her participation in ALS fundraising events, including “Walk for ALS” and the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. It was natural therefore, that when she discovered e-cigarettes contained formaldehyde, which is a toxin associated with ALS, she wanted to pursue this as an avenue of research. Emily plans to continue studying the effects of various toxins on motor neurons and their involvement ALS. Her advice: find something you are passionate about, be open to changing ideas, and be willing to work hard.
Julia Marie - Julia Sampson is a grade 8 student attending Elizabeth Sutherland School in Halifax Nova Scotia. She is 14 years old and has been trained in dance and piano, as well competive ski racing for the past 10 years. She recently competed in the Kiwanis music festival for voice, and is currently involved in her school musical. Last year Julia and her classmate Emily Rafuse decided to team up for their school’s science fair. From there they continued on to the HSTE, where they won 2 excellence medals, a passion for science award and best chemistry project. They'd heard about E-Cigarettes, and after discovering that they contained a lot of formaldehyde, decided to see if it was an risk factor for ALS. In future they would like to observe the effects of formaldehyde on motor neurons for a longer period of time or the effects on other organs. Julia's project advice is to find an idea you're passionate about, because when you're passionate about it nothing will stop you from succeeding, and you will always do you best. Julia is very excited to continue on with her partner and project to CWSF so people will think before they turn to E-Cigarette's.

Emily Isabelle Rafuse, Julia Marie Sampson

"E-cigarettes: A Risk Factor for ALS?"
City:Halifax, NS
School:Elizabeth Sutherland School
Abstract:E-cigarettes produce up to 10X more formaldehyde than tobacco cigarettes. Formaldehyde is a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that kills motor neurons (MNs). We used wild-type MNs and ALS-predisposed MNs to show that low levels of formaldehyde can cause motor neuron death, and that ALS-MNs are more severely affected. These results suggest a possible role for e-cigarettes in triggering ALS.

Awards Value
The Society of Toxicology Award
Sponsor: The Society of Toxicology