Arshvir Kaur

When I was in high school in Punjab (India), some news was published about the world’s first three-parent babies. I can still remember my excitement and the follow-up discussion with my biology instructor about that research study. And so began my passion for molecular biology research and genetic modifications.

After two years of Molecular Biology at Langara College, I transferred to SFU in 2018 and made an appointment with the MBB Undergraduate Advisor. We outlined a 2-year plan for my courses and co-op requirements. I applied for numerous volunteer and paid positions through myinvolvement.  I volunteered as a Science Peer Mentor for two semesters. Through the Work-Study program, I secured a research position in the Verheyen lab. Learning fly larva dissections to isolate wing discs was the hardest and the most fascinating task.

I was the MBBSU representative on the MBB DUCC and then got elected as the MBBSU President for two terms. In this role, I have tried to build a stronger and more visual presence of MBBSU so that the students can easily reach the executives with their concerns.

My favourite co-op placement was in the Karsan Lab, at the Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver.  I learnt to grow cancer cell lines, perform mouse genotyping, western blots and reagent preparations. I participated and presented research papers in the co-op student journal club of BC Cancer Research Centre. I was also fortunate to present my drug screening assays data at UBC on CBR Research Day.

For my last co-op placement, I got hired by Fraser Health as a Project Assistant. Besides the staff education team, I have been working with Infection Prevention and Control during COVID-19 outbreaks at our hospital units. Currently, I am assisting a physician with a Quality Improvement project aimed at delirium patients. I am able to analyze a biochemical pathway and present the key points to my managers and staff.

After my graduation, I am hoping to pursue my career in clinical research and development where I could combine my research skills and acute care work experience. I admire the MBB Co-op program and its coordinator, Susan Mandley, for supporting me to have an amazing work experience in both cancer research and healthcare.

My advice to all incoming students is to explore resources and opportunities provided by SFU and the MBB department. Never hesitate to seek help from professors, TAs and academic advisors.