Graduate Award Program – Brought to You by the CBR

Bryan LinBy Bryan Lin, PhD Candidate, Pryzdial Lab

One of the goals of the Centre for Blood Research (CBR) revolves around education. The CBR actively promotes and fosters the young blood that will enter the highly multi-disciplinary field that is blood research. Of the several supported programs at the CBR, the Graduate Award Program (GAP) is dedicated to MSc and PhD students.

Successful applicants for the GAP have demonstrated a drive to learn and to share. During the 2017-2018 year, this drive was nurtured behind closed doors (in the lovely LSC room 3310) by sharing our research and diving into different topics of science amongst one another through research presentations and the journal club.

The research presentations directly benefitted the awardees as we learned to cater our language and presentation skills to a general science audience. However, there was too much science to be locked into room 3310. Being the brave scientists that we are, we eventually ventured out to CBR events, such as the Norman Bethune and Earl Davie Symposia, and presented our passion for science through our work.

2017-2018 GAP participants

2017-2018 Graduate Award Program participants and event organizers

The journal club expanded the awardees’ knowledge as we explored controversial subjects like treatment availability; science-intensive models, including virus cryo-EM structure; and unusual questions, such as Brownian movement models using Drosophila larvae (or simply maggots). These introductions to different science topics eased the GAP awardees to be more well-rounded, although it may not have eased their distaste towards maggots.

The most arduous task for the GAP awardees was the organization of a CBR event, a yearly tradition of the GAP. This year, the theme was Communication. The event, “Effective Communication in Science”, was the result of the GAP team inviting speakers specializing in different perspectives in science: industrial, academic and the general public. It was well agreed that organizing such an event for the CBR was no easy task, which included communicating with speakers, securing delicacies, and adhering to alcohol policies. Nonetheless, the awardees’ diligence and vigilance resulted in a fantastic evening of awesome talks and networking (thanks in large part to appetizers and booze).

The awardees found that the GAP was most beneficial in providing an avenue for us to be involved with others at the CBR, whether it was organizing events, presenting research or networking. That is not to say that the award money was not beneficial too. We are thankful for the experience the program offered us and to those that contributed to the (continued) existence of the program. At the end of the program, some special thanks were extended to Julie Kora for guiding us throughout the program.

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