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Molecular Biology and Biochemistry doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I grew up here in Vancouver, and am currently a third year PhD student in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry department. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and backpacking through the local mountains, and recently started cycling and running. I am also the proud owner of a thriving snowglobe collection.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
During my time as an undergraduate at SFU, I had the opportunity to take an independent study semester where I was introduced to research. I enjoyed the experience, and decided to continue research in the same field as a graduate student.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
When human cells are exposed to harsh environmental conditions, like high temperature or acidity, they form protein aggregates, or ‘clumps’, called amyloid bodies. The proteins within these structures adopt a folding shape called the amyloid conformation, which has historically been associated primarily with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. However, unlike the harmful aggregates, amyloid bodies function to protect the cell by conserving energy during periods of cell stress. I'm trying to identify the cellular pathways that control amyloid body formation in response to stress.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I really enjoy the collaborative nature of our department. There are a lot of labs working on very different topics, and I have really enjoyed being able to get feedback from so many people with different expertise and insights.
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.
I was very fortunate to receive the SFU Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship, and an NSERC CGS-M award at the beginning of my degree. More recently, I received a CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best CGS-Doctoral award. I am extremely grateful for the financial support from these organizations, as they have allowed me to focus fully on my studies without needing to take on any part-time work.
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