"I first joined SFU as a volunteer. Then, I became a laboratory technician in the Lowenberger lab, Biological Sciences Department. In this place, I observed how the university’s organization, technology, and infrastructure could support high-quality research and offer a nurturing environment for staff members and students. Thus, I decided to pursue my graduate studies at SFU on a topic that I enjoyed working on based on my previous experience."

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Student Profile: Diana Giron Ceron

March 11, 2022
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Molecular Biology and Biochemistry master's student in the Faculty of Science

I am a first-year master’s student in the Jaumouillé Lab, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department. I completed my B.Sc. in Microbiology and Clinical Laboratory in 2017 at the Universidad del Valle, Colombia. Before joining my current lab, I worked for four years as a research assistant studying human host-pathogen interactions, and then as a laboratory technician in the Lowenberger lab at the Biological Sciences Department in SFU. My first contact with research was during my internship at CIDEIM, a research institution for infectious diseases. In this role, the possibility of connecting clinical diagnosis with ex-vivo and in-vitro studies motivated me to pursue a research career, mainly focused on immunology. Therefore, I joined the Jaumouillé lab to study the interaction between the biomechanical properties of immune cells and their role in complex diseases like cancer.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I first joined SFU as a volunteer. Then, I became a laboratory technician in the Lowenberger lab, Biological Sciences Department. In this place, I observed how the university’s organization, technology, and infrastructure could support high-quality research and offer a nurturing environment for staff members and students. Thus, I decided to pursue my graduate studies at SFU on a topic that I enjoyed working on based on my previous experience. Dr. Jaumouillé’s lab combines immunology, microscopy, cell and molecular biology techniques to study the mechanobiology of immune processes. The possibility of improving my knowledge in all these areas was my main motivation to join his team.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

Phagocytosis is a mechanism where immune cells like macrophages digest and present particulate material to promote specific immune responses. There are mechanical forces and conformational changes that cells must undergo to perform phagocytosis. The cytoskeleton, the support network of the cell, determines these conformational changes. In the Jaumouillé lab, we are interested in the dynamics of the cytoskeleton and its impact on macrophage immune functions during the phagocytosis of pathogens and cancer cells. My thesis project aims to evaluate how the mechanical properties of cells derived from B cell lymphoma can impact the phagocytic efficiency of macrophages and affect their inflammatory signaling. The understanding of this process can help improve current cancer therapeutics.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The opportunities that graduate students have to interact with different labs and their research are amazing. Professors are reachable, and students can connect easily throughout the department and learn additional topics besides their research. Also, courses prioritize the development of key skills for graduate students, including science communication, critical thinking, and scientific writing. Overall, working on research with the appropriate resources and support is a great experience to have.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

Upon entering SFU I was awarded the Graduate Student Fellowship for Fall 2021. This award has helped me to focus on my studies and have financial stability.

 

Contact : diana_giron_ceron@sfu.ca

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