- Why Grad Studies at SFU?
- Programs Alphabetically
- Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies
- Accelerated Master's
- Tuition + Fees
- Visiting + Incoming Exchange
- Awards + Funding
- Graduate Students
- Getting Started
- Understanding Your Role
- Managing Your Program
- Completing + Graduation
- Postdoctoral Fellows
- Life + Community
- Community Guide
- Indigenous Graduate Students
- International Graduate Students
- Professional Development
- Jobs + Volunteering
- People + Research
- Highlights & Awards
- Grad Student Spotlight
- Travel Reports
- Grad Student Profiles
- Participate in Grad Student Research
- News + Events
- Faculty + Staff
- Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies in Graduate Studies
Student Profile: Heshmat Sanam Meraj
Biology doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I am currently immersed in my doctoral studies, enthralled by the intriguing domain of vector biology. My research is honed in on the examination of blood-sucking insects, specifically investigating their role as vectors in the transmission of a myriad of diseases, including, but not limited to, malaria and Chagas. My academic journey was initiated with a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology with honours, an experience that served as the catalyst, sparking my passion for the scientific world.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
Upon the successful completion of my undergraduate honours thesis focused on RNA, I ventured into a diverse range of research environments, including the Gries Lab among others. My explorations provided me with valuable insights and experience, but it was the unique allure of the Gries Lab that ultimately captivated me. It was a combination of the lab's vibrant culture, fostering innovation and collaboration, and their pursuit of fascinating research projects that cemented my decision to become a long-term member of this remarkable team.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
In contrast to their blood-feeding counterparts, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and flies – notorious perpetrators of diseases like dengue and malaria – bed bugs, also hematophagous by nature, surprisingly don't exhibit the same propensity for disease transmission. This intriguing disparity forms the crux of my investigative studies. I am engrossed in a meticulous comparison of their genetic blueprints, protein structures, immunological defences, and overall physiological characteristics, aiming to discern the unique traits that set these nocturnal parasites apart. Unravelling this enigma holds the potential to revolutionize our understanding of vector-borne diseases and perhaps even unveil novel strategies to thwart their transmission.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
The dynamic community at SFU, brimming with individuals who inspire, genuinely enriches the essence and delight of being part of this respected institution. I count myself fortunate to be intricately involved with an exceptional group of skilled colleagues, mentors, and undergraduate collaborators within the Gries Lab. Further enhancing this experience is the unique privilege of serving as a Teaching Assistant for courses like Microbiology and Genetic Engineering under the seasoned guidance of Peter Hollman. This multifaceted involvement augments my academic journey, making it truly fulfilling.
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 am deeply honoured to be the recipient of the esteemed NSERC CGS-D scholarship. This prestigious award provides me with the invaluable opportunity to wholly dedicate myself to my studies and intensively delve into my research pursuits.
Contact Heshmat: email@example.com