Shaianne stein

I began my studies at SFU in 2015 in the MBB program where I was first introduced to academic research in my fourth year in the Harden lab and worked with Drosophila as part of my directed research and later holding an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA).

In May 2021, I started my Masters under the supervision of Dr. Lorena Braid where our goal is to characterize the elusive identity and function of mesenchymal stem and stromal cells (MSCs). MSCs function as signaling hubs in stem cell niches and are potent modulators of inflammation, wound healing, and regeneration but less is known about how MSCs function within the body. I recently transferred to the PhD program to further my experience here as a well-seasoned MBB academic! I will be continuing my work on modelling interactions between MSCs and the extracellular matrix to investigate the mechanisms implicated in fundamental MSC-mediated processes like angiogenesis.

My experience in the MBB program has been met with the utmost support and patience from my supervisor, peers, labmates and mentors, all of which has played a major decision in pursuing a PhD degree. As my lab’s first graduate student, I have been part of building the lab from the ground up and have played an integral role in shaping our first projects and making fundamental decisions which has been incredibly enriching for my professional development. In addition, Dr. Braid’s translational background that spans across government, regulatory, industry and academic connections has exposed me to numerous disciplines that I have never thought about before.

If I were to give advice to prospective/new graduate students, I would tell them to embrace the entire graduate experience and to keep persevering! Grad school is tough. I know how hard it is to maintain work-life balance as a graduate student, but my time spent away from the bench after failed experiments to hang out with my labmates and other grads has been among some of my best memories. As current Vice-President of the MBB graduate caucus, we host events to connect the graduate cohort together, so get involved!