By Katie Ryu
Junior Joshua Pereira held a conference at the University of California, Los Angeles presenting his project, Envision H2O, on February 26. He spoke to representatives of the California Environmental DNA (CALeDNA) program.
The conference and Question & Answer session that followed was broadcast nationwide from the CALeDNA website, allowing countless viewers to learn about the project Pereira has been working on with Granada Hill Charter’s Science Team.
Envision H2O involves developing a new method of testing water quality for bacterial contamination. Pereira described plans to utilize gold nanoparticles for detecting the concentration of the DNA of any particular bacterial species in a water sample. That data would then be used to provide insights regarding the contamination level of that body of water.
With this conference, Pereira aimed to develop more connections, network, and further his partnership with CALeDNA. CALeDNA monitors California’s biodiversity by testing environmental DNA and is run by the University of California Conservation Genomics Consortium.
After his successful conference, Pereira was invited to visit again for further discussion. Once he and the Science Team finish prototyping and testing, they will bring the product to CALeDNA in hopes that the major program will put their project to future use.
“With Envision H2O, we’re trying to look for a better future where water quality isn’t so proprietary and isn’t so monopolized. We’re trying to look for high schools to be able to do it. We’re also trying to look for more accurate methods. Why not improve it while we’re at it?” Pereira said.
Pereira is in the process of creating and finalizing his team; he invites anyone interested to come by C7 after school, where he spends his time practicing, studying, and running Science Team meetings as a team officer after school.
In the future, he and his team will soon be testing water quality with Heal the Bay, an environmental advocacy non-profit organization. Heal the Bay focuses on protecting the Santa Monica Bay, the California coastline, and the surrounding watersheds. They are responsible for much of Los Angeles’ regular recreational water quality testing.
“Alongside our methods that we want to test against existing methods, we’re going to go with them to the field. We’re going to use their methods but we’re also going to apply our own. We are doing a side by side comparison with Heal the Bay who are going to guide us throughout the process,” Pereira said.
Pereira will continue to develop his prototype device and has high hopes for its success with enough testing, data collection, and hard work.