Graduate Program: Biochemistry (with a specialization in Human & Molecular Genetics)
Year of Entry: 2012
PhD Supervisors: Dr. John Bell
Thesis: Defended July 27, 2017
I grew up in Cambridge, ON and completed my undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at Hawaii Pacific University. After working for a short time as a Research Assistant at Robarts Research Institute with Dr. Michael Strong, I completed a M.Sc. in Pathology at Western University where I investigated the abnormal expression of RNA binding proteins associated with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This experience laid a solid foundation for my interests in academic medicine and my further training here in Ottawa.
Malignant melanoma is an aggressive cancer that can be treatment refractory and highly metastatic in advanced stages. One relatively novel therapeutic approach against many cancers is the use of cancer-targeted viruses to (1) attack cancerous cells directly, and (2) encourage a patient-initiated anti-tumour immune response. In Dr. Bell’s laboratory, we are focused on understanding certain aspects of cancer biology and using this knowledge to develop and characterize novel oncolytic viral products. In my Ph.D. research, my goal is to bridge clinical oncology with basic virology and genetics as I seek to understand and develop a Vaccinia virus-based approach for use in malignant melanoma and other cancers.
2014- - Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship