A mission to Mars caps off summer at the Centre for Blood Research

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 Dr. Geraldine Walsh

Research day celebrates the end of the Centre for Blood Research Summer Studentship Program, which is partially supported by Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation. A perennial highlight of the Centre for Blood Research academic calendar, this year’s event was inspiring and fun.

Summer students spend the sunniest months of the year working in laboratories affiliated with the Centre for Blood Research (CBR). For many of the students, this is their first opportunity to get hands-on experience in a laboratory. But doing laboratory research is only part – albeit a critical part – of the role of a scientist. Research results need to be compiled and communicated to complete any scientific endeavor.

At the CBR research day, every summer student presents an oral and a poster presentation describing their work. This opportunity is not always available to students at this level, and nicely rounds out their academic experience for the summer. Congratulations to all the CBR summer students on their enthusiastic participation in the program and their excellent presentations and posters.


Poster time at the CBR Research Day

Poster time at the 2018 Research Day at UBC's Centre for Blood Research.

Kudos to all the CBR research day winners! And, we’re proud to note that two of whom are from labs (Devine and Pryzdial) that are affiliated with Canadian Blood Services.

Kaelin Fleming (Devine laboratory) winner of the best oral presentation for her talk “Protein biomarkers for identification of poor storing red cell concentrates”

Nima Derakhshan (Rossi laboratory) winner of the best undergraduate poster: “VEGFA in skeletal muscle regeneration: something more than an angiogenic signaling”

Bryan Lin (Pryzdial laboratory) winner of the best graduate poster: “Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Acquires and Mimics the Host Coagulation Protein Tissue Factor”


An out-of-this-world keynote, indeed

This year’s keynote presenter was out of this world! Originally from Montreal, Dr. Farah Alibay is an aerospace engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles. She is working on the Mars InSight mission, which launched in May this year, and will land on Mars in November. The lander carries instruments designed to study the interior of Mars.

Dr. Alibay described her role as an engineer on this project, the excitement of launch day, and her nerves as the mission hits its halfway point and landing day comes closer and closer. Most of all, in describing her journey to become an NASA engineer, she inspired the audience to pursue their dreams no matter the perceived obstacles.


Poster time at the CBR research day

Dr. Farah Alibay (front row in green) with the Centre for Blood Research summer students. Photo courtesy of the Centre for Blood Research. 

As the new academic year kicks off and the summer students return to their courses, we wish them the best of luck, and hope their summer experience at the CBR will serve them well as they continue to chase their dreams, scientific or otherwise!

Thinking of becoming a summer student yourself?

The CBR Summer Studentship Program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to get hands-on lab experience. The student’s research work is guided by a principle investigator or postdoctoral fellow, and their experience is enhanced through research skills workshops, tours of campus facilities, and complementary social events.

Visit the Centre for Blood Research website for information and application details.


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.


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