Youth Leadership Council Member
Lela DeVine is a freshman at Barnard College of Columbia University studying cellular and molecular biology with a minor in science, ethics, and policy. Her environmental experience stems from extensive research endeavors with the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, where she focuses on marine pharmacology. Her work has led to multiple publications dealing with the
discovery of novel marine-based compounds exhibiting antiproliferative activity against both prostate and ovarian cancer cell lines. Her most recent publication in the ACS (American Chemical Society) Journal of Natural Products is entitled “Secondary Metabolites from the Leather Coral-Derived Fungal Strain Xylaria sp. FM1005 and Their Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibitory Activity”. Lela is a two-time Regeneron ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) finalist, ranking fourth internationally in microbiology. Lela’s research emphasizes the importance of utilizing the environment in a positive way and finding a balance between environmental source-based research and MPA-based conservation through targeting, prioritizing, and addressing environmental dangers and weaknesses in diverse reef areas.
She has received over 30 awards for her research in her time competing from district to international levels from organizations such as NOAA, the Society for In-Vitro Biology, the US Tripler Army Medical Center, and the Office for Naval Research. She is an alumnus of the Society for the Science and the Public through competing in both ISEF and Broadcom Masters, and was ranked top 300 nationally for junior research before entering high school. Lela uses her voice to bolster youth engagement and advocacy in different communities through storytelling, drawing from her time growing up in Hawaii, and exploring the reefs through SCUBA diving. She has spoken on these experiences at a variety of events, inclusive of the National JSHS Symposia, in collaboration with La Mer at the UN World Oceans Day Conference, as well as with NBC on NBCLX.
Lela hopes her research and advocacy can inspire other young women in both STEM and environmental fields to continue to strive in creating, sharing, and pushing forward the crucial interdisciplinary and interpersonal connections found in their work.