Sam Meraj
2022 SFU 3MT Finals: First Place

February 15, 2023

Tell us a little about yourself, your program and your research

I completed my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and I am currently pursuing a PhD that delves into the immunology of the common bed bug species, Cimex lectularius. Specifically, my research aims to uncover why this hematophagous arthropod is not known to transmit diseases, in contrast to other blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes.

Why did you want to participate in 3MT?

Over the last decade, numerous members from the Gerhard Gries lab have successfully participated in and even won the 3MT prize. Inspired by their achievements, I too decided to take part in the competition.

What did you find out about yourself and/or your research through your participation?

Streamlining my research on immunology and molecular biology to a concise and comprehensible level was an immense challenge, but surprisingly, an incredibly fulfilling one. The process of conveying complex concepts in an accessible manner was thoroughly enjoyable, and even resulted in me discovering a newfound appreciation for public speaking.

In three words, describe your experience?

Pride, enlightening, engaging 

What are you doing now and what's next?

Currently, I am conducting research to explore novel antimicrobial peptides sourced from bed bugs, while also investigating the survival and transmission of trypanosomes within the bed bug population.

What would you say to someone thinking of participating in 3MT? 

I would definitely recommend doing it! It is an excellent experience for personal development.

2022 SFU First Place

PhD in Biological Sciences 

Bed bugs, enemies or medicine?