SDJA student Jessie Gan named finalist in Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021


San Diego Jewish Academy recently announced that Jessie Gan, a senior at SDJA, has been named a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Owned and produced by the Society for Science and sponsored by Regeneron, the Science Talent Search focuses on identifying, inspiring and engaging the nation’s most promising young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.

SDJA student Jessie Gan
SDJA student Jessie Gan

The 2021 finalists were selected from 1,760 highly qualified entrants, all of whom completed an original research project and extensive application process. Earlier this month, the Society and Regeneron named the top 300 scholars. The finalists were selected based on their projects’ scientific rigor and their potential to become world-changing scientists and leaders.

“We are so very proud of everything Jessie has accomplished,” says Michael Quigley, Head of the Upper School at SDJA. “She is a wonderful person, outstanding student and a great member of the upper school community. Jessie exemplifies the SDJA student. She is kind, curious, funny, and gritty. I look forward to seeing what path Jessie takes after she graduates this June and how she will bring the world along with her.”

Gan’s project compares the stickiness of cells in order to investigate metastasis, a deadly process in cancer cells. She found that malignant metastatic cells were stickier than normal cells using a novel biophysical technique. Gan conducted her research while at an internship at the Mechanobiology Institute in Singapore. Her findings may lead to a diagnostic tool to find if a patient has metastatic cells, thereby speeding up and improving treatment.

Gan will participate in a virtual competition from March 10-17, 2021, where they will undergo a rigorous virtual judging process to compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. They will also have an opportunity to interact with leading scientists and display their projects to the public during a virtual event on March 14. Usually held in person in Washington, D.C., the 2021 competition will take place virtually in order to keep the finalists and their families safe during the ongoing pandemic.

The finalists are each awarded at least $25,000, and the top 10 awards range from $40,000 to $250,000. The top 10 Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021 winners will be announced during a live-streamed virtual awards ceremony on March 17. In total, more than $3 million in awards will be distributed throughout the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which includes awards to finalists as well as $2,000 provided to each of the top 300 scholars and their schools.

For a list of this year’s finalists, visit