Graduate Program: Biology
Year of Entry: 2011
PhD Supervisor: Dr. Marc Ekker
Thesis: Defended October 14, 2016
Research is about exploring the unknown and pushing boundaries to where we have never been before. . It inspires excitement, promotes adventure, and satiates curiosity. This desire has driven me from the beginning of my undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry and through my Masters of Science at the University of New Brunswick. It drives me to explore the rules that govern the workings of the universe and discover things that no one else had discovered before. During my M.Sc., I was afforded an opportunity through the NSERC Michael J. Smith Foreign Study Supplement to spend 3 months at the Scripps Research Institute IN La Jolla, CA. This experience gave me a chance to see the direct impact of scientific research on patient care. The knowledge that I can take my scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside has inspired me to pursue this combined degree with the hopes of translating my research into a tangible impact on people’s lives.
The MD/PhD Program offers an amazing opportunity to pursue two degrees over the course of seven years, giving a unique perspective that synergizes basic science with clinical exposure. I have recently completed my PhD thesis where I developed a zebrafish model of pesticide-induced dopamine neuron damage. My worked helped clarify the mechanism of injury that common pesticides have on the metabolism of dopamine neurons, with the potential to adapt this model to high-throughput small molecule screens in the future for discovering drugs that may help with Parkinson’s Disease. Most importantly, my time in the MD/PhD program has conferred a set of skills that primes for a career in both basic science research, And patient-centered care, allowing us to think outside of the box when dealing with questions regardfing the nature of the universe.
2013 - CIHR MD/PhD Program Grant – declined
2013 – Ontario Graduate Scholarships – declined
2012 - Vanier CGS - nominated
2012 - CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Doctoral Scholarship