media release

Lab job leads to fresher fruits

October 05, 2011
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Contact:
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca

Vivian Lam
Photo on Flickr

Lists of graduates/hometowns: http://at.sfu.ca/eLJrzP

As a child, Simon Fraser University science grad Vivian Lam’s enquiring mind may have worn out her parents but it has also landed her a promising career working with the best and brightest in microbiology and food safety.

Lam, of Burnaby, was hired as an SFU co-op student for an eight-month stint in a Summerland food microbiology lab, where project scientists are developing new packaging technology to help fruit growers lengthen shipping times and get fruit to market fresher.

The new containers will combine special boxes, cooling techniques and an antimicrobial compound, allowing shipping times of up to a month, with the fruit arriving in freshly picked condition.

The boxes themselves, complete with controlled atmosphere, were ready to go when Lam started at the lab. Her role was to help develop the antimicrobial to put in them.

She’s since been hired on beyond her co-op term. Previous co-op stints include scouting Lower Mainland potato fields for a pest management company, monitoring Petri dish sterility for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and sorting mosquito samples in the West Nile Virus surveillance program.

And she says that broad experience is what landed her current job so soon after graduation. Adds Lam: “The co-op program really is a gateway to a position in your chosen field."

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