CBR Research Day 2017: In Review

By Houra Loghmani-khouzani, Victor Lei, David Lim, and Lana Omazic, Conway Lab, CBR

Each summer, at approximately the same time, the Life Sciences Centre atrium becomes completely packed with people from the Centre of Blood Research (CBR) for their very own annual research day. This special day is designed to celebrate the successes of the talented and naïve summer students, to give them a chance to present their work and achievements at the CBR, and to prime them for their upcoming lives in research and academia.

After a sumptuous catered lunch and a short but powerful welcoming speech by the director of CBR, Dr. Ed Conway, around 30 students began presenting their research projects. With mixed feelings of excitement and nausea, the students revealed their summer findings in front of a room filled with close to 200 people (barely conforming to fire regulations)! The large number of presenters covered a plethora of topics, ranging from antibiotic resistance to thrombosis and optimization of mass spectrometry, representing the wide spectra of subjects being studied at the CBR.

All student speakers presented amazingly within their 3-minute monologues, but their thunder was promptly stolen by the keynote speaker, Dr. Jaymie Matthews. Dr. Matthews is a full Professor at UBC in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, and in his own words he is “an astro-paparazzo who unveils the hidden lifestyles of stars by eavesdropping on ‘the music of the spheres.’” He was a very pleasing last-minute replacement for Dr. Farah Alibay from NASA, who, unfortunately and ironically, was stuck at the airport due to a flight cancellation. Despite having accepted an invitation to speak only 4 hours prior to the event, Dr. Matthews delivered an amazing tour around the universe, allowing us to join him on his search for faraway planets that may even be harboring summer students of their own!

Next on the schedule were the poster presentations. Postdoctoral fellows and other research staff took on the task of judging the summer students based on poster design and knowledge of their work. Though the competition was fierce, Olivia Bulka, a 4th year undergraduate student in Dr. Overall’s lab, took first place with her poster entitled “Mapping the Degradome of Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1)”. Abhinav Ajaykumar, a PhD candidate in Dr. Côté’s lab, won the poster prize among graduate students with his poster, “HIV-Exposed Uninfected (HEU) newborns exposed in utero to ritonavir-boosted Protease Inhibitor Antiretroviral therapy (ART) have lower mtDNA level compared to ART-unexposed HEUs”. Last but not least, David Lim, a summer student from the Conway lab was the proud winner of the oral presentations with his talk on the topic of “Thrombomodulin as a potential treatment in Age related Macular Degeneration”. Finally, Umme Amara, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr. Kim’s lab, won the Neil Mackenzie award for mentorship.

To wind down yet another successful day and kick-start the evening events, a veritable banquet of barbecued delights were served for dinner. Immediately noticing a distinct improvement over the previous year’s fare, technician Jenny Huang of the Conway lab and veteran Research Day eater, boisterously proclaimed her flame-kissed burger among the best meat-flavored disc-shaped meals she’s ever had. Clearly, the chefs took to heart our keynote speaker’s philosophy of aiming for a product that was not too dry nor too toothpaste-like, as seminar burgers are often prone to become. Sadly, at the time of this publication, mobile BBQ grill catering companies are not yet eligible to receive Michelin stars.

We extend a heartfelt thanks to our sponsors who continue to make Research Day possible. Thank you, as well, to the many supervisors (i.e., technicians, graduate students, post-graduates, research associates, and PIs) who guided the Summer Studentship participants throughout their summer endeavours. Your support is invaluable! Finally, Research Day would not have been possible without the help of many volunteers, who assisted with set-up, clean-up, poster judging, registration, and much more – thank you for offering your time and energy! Cheers to another great CBR Research Day!


Check out the 2017 Research Day here: Research Day Flyer | CBR RESEARCH DAY VIDEO  | See photos from the event

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