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Student Profile: Dane Marijan
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, which is where I completed my BS in Molecular Biology before moving to Vancouver to work towards a PhD. Being a lab rat I've often envied my zoologist, botanist, ecologist and evolutionary biologist colleagues who work in the field, so I compensate by birdwatching, hiking, cycling and trail running. Less healthy obsessions include playing backgammon but not getting much better at it, and endlessly rewatching The Wire.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
The primary reason for choosing any institution for me is the work a specific lab or group does. The research my current supervisor was doing at the time was novel and open ended, with many outstanding questions and unknowns, which is something I find very engaging. Having the opportunity to immediately focus on research and teaching rather than courses was really appealing as well.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
In living organisms proteins are responsible for most of the processes that make something a biological system, or what we would normally describe as "it being alive". To perform these duties proteins need to be of a certain shape, but sometimes they can get misshapen and clump together uncontrollably, an event often observed in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases. Some animal cells seem to have developed a way to precisely control the clumping of various proteins so that they survive detrimental conditions like high temperature. I'm trying to figure out what cellular mechanism decides whether or not proteins will clump in this protective way in specific harmful environments.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
Public shout out to Deidre and Mimi who make the MBB department go round! I also very much enjoy how commonplace it is in the department to pop by someone's lab or office to ask for feedback, thoughts on experiment design, help with a new methodology, or just science-y banter.
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org