Canyon Crest Academy student honored for hemophilia research

Ruchi Agashe, who is entering her senior year at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, was recognized for her project at the annual San Diego Regional Science and Engineering Fair. (Her name is spelled Agashe; check incorrectly says Agashi.)
(Luke Harold)

Canyon Crest Academy senior Ruchi Agashe received a trophy and a $1,000 check at Scripps Research Institute’s Summer Intern Symposium on Aug. 9 for winning the Institute’s inaugural Young Scientist Award.

Her work, which evaluates a potential alternative treatment for hemophilia, was completed in the Scripps Research Institute’s Mosnier lab. She credited the lab, led by Laurent Mosnier, with the guidance and mentorship she needed to complete the project.

“A lot of times my experiments definitely did not work, but I realize that through a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights, I was able to form a research project that I am proud to have taken part in,” said Agashe, speaking in front of family and other students at Scripps’ Summer Intern Symposium.

The event was held in the Scripps Research Hazen Auditorium Courtyard, with research by the students who took part in the summer internship program on display.

In a letter she received in April informing her that she had been selected as the winner, Scripps officials said they liked the enthusiasm, intimate knowledge and “obvious amount of hard work” that went into the project.

About 20,000 men in the United States have hemophilia, a condition in which blood does not properly clot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is typically caused by genetics, and for many patients causes problems with their joints.

In Agashe’s abstract, she writes that hemophilia A, also known as classic hemophilia, “is characterized by recurrent and spontaneous bleeding in weight-bearing joints,” causing a complication called hemophilic arthropathy.

“Despite advances in treatment,” Agashe wrote in her abstract, “[hemophilic arthropathy] still continues to develop and is characterized by synovial hypertrophy associated with excessive and fragile blood vessel growth that increases the risk of bleeding.”

Over the course of her study, she identified new ways to treat blood vessels that could help avoid the typical orthopedic complications from hemophilia.

Scripps Research initiatives include the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and Summer Research Internship programs.

“Scripps research has so much amazing research going on, and I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to take part in that,” said Agashe, whose work was also recognized at the San Diego Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

After the ceremony, she added that “it was really nice to see that they were able to actually commend specific people.”

Agashe said she will be looking for colleges with strong biology programs as she completes her senior year of high school.