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Young Philadelphia scientist is taking her research on mental health to a new level

Philadelphia high school student is making history with her research to cure anxiety | Focusing on t
Philadelphia high school student is making history with her research to cure anxiety 03:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Forty high school scientists are heading to Washington, D.C., to compete in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for seniors.

CBS Philadelphia spoke with one high school senior from Philadelphia who is making history.

Eighteen-year-old Gavriela Beatrice Kalish-Schur is looking for a cure and more affordable treatment to help people cope with anxiety.

"Anxiety is a prevalent increasing problem, especially among young people and we really don't know what's happening on the smallest levels in our bodies when it comes to anxiety it's treated largely as a psychological problem instead of real biological problem," Kalish-Schur said.

As she finishes up her senior year at Masterman High School she has one more presentation that could have a huge impact on her future.

Each finalist is awarded at least $25,000 with the top 10 awards ranging from $40,000 to $250,000.

The search started with thousands of applicants then was narrowed down to 300 semifinalists and last month the top 40 finalists were announced.


Kalish-Schur is also the first young woman to represent Philadelphia and the Philadelphia School District in such a distinguished competition.

After more than a year of research and working inside the lab at the University of Pennsylvania Kalish-Schur hopes her work will help others who suffer from anxiety.

"I looked at the mechanisms behind anxiety in fruit flies and how we can use that to develop more targeted treatment for humans," Kalish-Schur said.

While Kalish-Schur and the others will go through a rigorous judging process where she is competing for scholar dollars, but for her, it's another science fair under her belt at least until she gets to college.

"I was accepted early to Harvard where I plan to concentrate in neuroscience," Kalish-Schur said.

The winners of the Regeneron Science Talent Search will be announced on March 12.

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