LONE TREE, Colo (CBS4) – The Future Leader award winner for April is deep into research that may have implications for treating Type 1 diabetes. Molly Dolan is a junior at Rock Canyon High School. In among her advanced placement classes, she’s taking Biotechnology 2, a class where students get to run their own real-world research.

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“Biotechnology is using our understanding of biology to treat and solve world problems,” said Shawndra Fordham, a Biotech teacher.

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Students create a research project proposal, they fundraise for it, they execute it, they troubleshoot any problems that happen, they analyze the results, and write a research paper at the end of the year.

“The students love it. They get to learn science in a way that’s relevant and meaningful,” Fordham explained.

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Molly Dolan and her lab partner, Lauren McCaffrey, worked on some pretty, advanced science.

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“The effects of insulin producing e-coli on the ingestion of Drosophila Melanogaster, also known as fruit flies,” Dolan told CBS4.

Over the course of many months, the young women fed insulin producing e-coli to diabetic fruit flies to see if it would impact their blood sugar levels.

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“Our hope was that you could take a one-time probiotic, that contains the insulin producing e-coli to actually seed the gut so you get a constant stream of insulin into your blood stream,” Dolan explained.

A lofty goal for a high school junior, but right in line with her Biotechnology peers.

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“What did you like most about working on your project?” CBS4 Chief Meteorologist Lauren Whitney asked.

“It’s so fun. Even when things go wrong, we become so close as a class. That it’s just fun to hang out with them,” Dolan replied.

Dolan and McCaffrey ran into some significant scientific errors during the year. Each mistake was a lesson learned, and like all good scientists they plan to do the research project again next year.

“I love science because unlike English, there’s a right answer, but there’s multiple ways to come to it.”

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CBS4, along with our partners at the Colorado School of Mines and PDC Energy, award a Future Leader every month throughout the school years. The award honors high school students who are excelling in the science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM fields. Winners get $1,000, and profile on CBS4 News.