Graduate Program: Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
Year of Entry: 2016
PhD Supervisor: Dr. Carolina Ilkow and Dr. John Bell
I was born and raised in Winnipeg and completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Winnipeg in with a double major in biochemistry and biology (Honours) in 2015. Having come from a city also known as ‘Winterpeg’ some of my favorite activities to do when I am not studying are skating on the river and watching as many Jets games as possible.
During my final year of undergraduate studies, I was given the opportunity to visit a Northern Manitoba First Nations community as an Aboriginal Ambassador to share some of my research and experiences with the high school students. The students were very excited to meet a cancer biologist and I had such an amazing time sharing my knowledge that I knew research had to be a part of my future career! I worked in a cancer biology lab for the duration of my Honours, with my project being focused on the treatment of breast cancer with the diabetes medication, metformin. After graduation, I decided to explore a completely different field of molecular biology, joining an antimicrobial resistance lab as a student technician for the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba.
Oncolytic viruses are a promising new avenue for the treatment of cancer, with the first oncolytic virus being approved by the FDA in 2015 for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Oncolytic viruses are capable of selectively targeting and killing cancer cells, leaving surrounding cells unharmed. These viruses have been engineered to take advantage of abnormalities in the antiviral response of cancer cells, allowing them to replicate in cancer cells, but not healthy cells. Viral infection also engages the patient’s own immune system leading to an anti-tumour immune response. My project is focused on creating novel oncolytic viruses to overcome treatment resistant breast and ovarian cancers.
- 2018-2019 University of Ottawa Graduate Studies Excellence Scholarship
- 2018-2019 Ontario Graduate Scholarship
- 2017-2018 National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) Trust Fund Scholarship
- 2017 University of Ottawa Entrance Scholarship
- 2017 Indspire Scholarship Award