Undergraduate Summer Research Program

Centre for Blood Research – School of Biomedical Engineering Summer Studentship Program

Are you an undergraduate or medical student looking for summer research experience? The Centre for Blood Research-School of Biomedical Engineering (CBR-SBME) Summer Studentship Program provides students with an opportunity to get hands-on research experience during the summer months and to present their research at the CBR Research Day. This program also enhances the summer students’ learning with research skills workshops, career development events, and complementary social events.

Competition for the 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program is now closed.

Competition for the 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program is now closed.

Competition for the 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program is now closed.

Q: I am an international student at UBC. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, international students who are currently registered at UBC are eligible to apply.

Q: I am a student studying outside of UBC. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, students who are currently registered at a recognized Canadian university are eligible to apply.

Q: I am an undergraduate student graduating in May. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, undergraduate students are eligible to hold a CBR-SBME Summer Studentship award in the semester immediately following graduation.

Q: I received a CBR-SBME Summer Studentship award in the past. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, past awardees are eligible to apply; however, funding is not guaranteed.

Q: When will successful applicants be announced?

A: Funding decisions will be announced at the end of April.

Q: Can I accept the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship award in addition to another summer research award?

A: Students are NOT eligible to hold both a CBR-SBME Summer Studensthip and any other funding during the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship funding period (May to August).

What past participants said about the Summer Studentship Program:

Mahta Amanian, 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Genome-Wide pathogenicity hunt in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Supervisors: Christine Yang, Dr. Amy Lee, and Dr. Bob Hancock

Mahta Amanian presenting during Virtual Research Day 2020

The CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program was an amazing experience and I am so grateful for being awarded this opportunity. The ability to work on a research project and present to the scientific community despite the unique nature of this summer was very valuable.

For my research project, I worked on a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) with guidance from my remarkable supervisors, Christine Yang, Dr. Amy Lee, and Dr. Bob Hancock. The objective of my project was to perform a comprehensive study on Pseudomonas aeruginosa by first validating a GWAS software, De Bruijn Graph GWAS (DBGWAS), using ciprofloxacin resistance genes as a control so that we could then use the tool to identify novel mutations that contribute to pathogenicity. Although bioinformatics was fairly new to me, I had a lot of support from my supervisors and I have gained more confidence in computing.

Throughout the program, I have met many great individuals who are just as passionate about research as I am. Through workshops and one-on-one support sessions, I have learned a number of skills that I know have made me a better science communicator and researcher. Thank you so much for making the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program a possibility!

 


Cecilia H. Kim, 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Iron-overload induced oxidative stress in myelodysplastic syndromes and its cellular sequelae
Supervisor: Dr. Heather A. Leitch

Cecilia H. Kim

“This summer, through the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship program, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Heather Leitch to investigate the cellular impacts of iron overload (IOL) due to blood transfusions in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). My project consisted of conducting a literature review of clinical and pre-clinical data and preparing figures to help communicate the relevance of IOL to MDS pathophysiology. I also took the lead in writing certain sections of the paper that we submitted to the Critical Reviews in Oncology and Hematology journal at the end of my project, which was an incredible learning experience!

The Summer Studentship Program was a wonderful opportunity where I was able to learn new skills through virtual workshops, connect with other research students, and learn from an amazing mentor. My experience with the program, combined with Dr. Leitch’s patient guidance and inspiring passion for her patients as well as her research, consolidated my desire to pursue clinical and medical research as a career.

I am so grateful to Dr. Leitch and the CBR and SBME for allowing me to have such a meaningful experience!”

 


Polina Petlitsyna, 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Communicating science to senior learners
Supervisor: Dr. Jenna Usprech

Polina Petlitsyna

“I am beyond grateful to have been a part of this year’s cohort for the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship program. My project revolved around developing and delivering virtual cell biology lessons to a cohort of senior learners, with the broader aim of improving their scientific trust in light of COVID-19.

This summer could not be complete without Dr. Jenna Usprech’s brilliant guidance – she made my first research project a truly memorable experience. All in all, the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program was a hub of unforgettable opportunities; I especially enjoyed the professional development workshops and the virtual Seminar Series on current CBR research. Despite the unprecedented nature of 2020, this program stayed just as organized and aware of its students and supervisors’ needs, which I appreciated. Seeing such a small community come together (virtually) and share their progress during Research Day was very inspiring!

I would like to extend more thanks to the staff over at CBR and SBME – this program could not have excelled without your hard work and support! I am looking forward to working with more amazing members of this research community in the near future.”

 


Rafid Haq, 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Predictors of Methotrexate Intolerance in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Supervisor: Drs. Kelly Brown & Martina Sundqvist

Rafid Haq presenting for Virtual Research Day 2020

“The CBR-SBME Summer Studentship Program was a wonderful experience and I am extremely grateful to have been a part of the 2020 cohort. I had been involved in research before, but only in a limited capacity that was able to be expanded thanks to this program. The objective of my project was to analyze clinical and genetic parameters of patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), in order to determine predictors of intolerance to the first line treatment of the disease, methotrexate.

I got to work closely with Dr. Martina Sundqvist of the Brown Lab at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, who was an excellent mentor and guide in my first paid research experience. The program workshops, despite the online format, truly exhibited a care for the professional development of us summer students. CBR Research Day was an especially enjoyable time, allowing me to give a research presentation for the first time, as well as see all the interesting projects the other students had worked on this summer!

Thank you so much to the organizers at CBR and SBME for their work in making this program so fulfilling!”

 


Ella Chan, 2020 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Developing Tools to Improve Parent Health Literacy in Nephrotic Syndrome
Supervisor: Dr. Jenna Usprech

Ella Chan’s presentation during Virtual Research Day 2020

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the Centre for Blood Research and School of Biomedical Engineering (SBME) at UBC this summer, and to have been awarded a Summer Studentship. This summer, I worked on a project that aimed to increase health literacy and public trust in science with Dr. Jenna Usprech. For my specific project, I decided to focus on exploring ways to improve health literacy in families with children being treated for nephrotic syndrome. Through the development of Zoom-based lessons and interactions with patients and families, I was able to explore my lesson plans as avenues for improving parent health literacy in the context of the disease.

Overall, the CBR-SBME Summer Studentship was an incredible opportunity. I loved the integration of professional development (Zoom-presentation lessons and skills for online public speaking) and research talks. I also appreciated the community fostered by the program despite the online limitations. Through meet-and-greets, activities and the final presentation day, I felt connected to my colleagues in the program despite never having met them in person!

Thank you again, to the CBR and SBME Summer Studentship program!”

Ella’s Summer Studentship research project continued after she completed the program. She developed and published a document toolkit on her project, which focused on improving parent health literacy in nephrotic syndrome! See her project here.


Sia Cecilia Jan-Abu, 2019 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project: Modulation of the Immune System as possible therapy for Muscular Dystrophy
Supervisor: Dr. Kelly McNagny

Sia Cecilia Jan-Abu at CBR Research Day 2019.

“I am extremely grateful to be part of the 2019 cohort to receive the CBR/SBME summer studentship award. Before this summer I knew very little about research and academics outside of the classroom, but I have now found a new/renewed love for science and research. I did my summer research project titled “Modulation of the Immune System as possible therapy for Muscular Dystrophy” in the McNagny Lab (Biomedical Research Centre). This project allowed me to develop a hypothesis and follow through with experiments. I learnt the importance of paying attention to detail and time management especially when planning and conducting sensitive experiments. But I think some of the most valuable lessons I learnt this summer were learnt out of the lab. Being able to prepare and present my work to my peers and other scientists at the CBR Research Day was very beneficial. It was not only great practice of my presentation skills, but it tested my understanding of the work I had done, and I am so honoured to have been awarded best presenter. Furthermore, attending scientific conferences and meetings added another layer to an already holistic experience. I truly appreciate all the CBR/SBME staff and the McNagny lab for all their amazing support and direction.”

 


Amardeep Sekhon, 2019 CBR-SBME Summer Research Student
Project:
Frequency of Positive Antibody Screens on patients with Serial Group and Screens Every 3 Days (PASSeS 3D Study)
Supervisor: Dr. Andrew Shih

Amardeep (left) with his supervisor Dr. Andrew Shih at CBR Research Day 2019.

“As someone who recently finished up his first year of undergraduate studies and had no prior research experience, I cannot thank the Centre for Blood Research (CBR) enough for the opportunity to get an early start in clinical research and develop my skills.

The research study I have been working on in the summer is called the PASSeS 3D Study (Frequency of Positive Antibody Screens on Patients with Serial Group and Screens Every 3 Days), which is currently investigating a 3-day protocol for pre-transfusion compatibility testing at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

With this studentship being my first immersion into clinical research, I did not know what to expect – I initially had this notion that it would simply be non-stop data collection and analysis but looking back I learned so much from the experience. Working with post-graduate medical residents on a daily basis under the supervision of a staff physician has taught me so much about what it takes to be successful not only in clinical medicine, but in academia.  The unparalleled guidance and mentorship I have received from Dr. Andrew Shih, Dr. Bhupinder Johal and Dr. Ann Tran, has made me realize that medicine and research is something I would pursue after my undergraduate studies. The meaningful professional relationships I have built I feel will serve me very well in making sure those dreams are a reality.

Overall, I am looking forward to remain being a part of the vibrant research community at the CBR and remain being involved in the research there.”