The CBR Celebrates #WomenInScience: meet Tseday Zewdu Tegegn, Ph.D. candidate in the Dr. Pryzdial lab 

For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we had the pleasure of speaking with the CBR women scientists at different points in their career journey, including Tseday Zewdu Tegegn, Ph.D. candidate in the Dr. Pryzdial lab. 

Tell us about yourself: 

I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, located in the horn of Africa. Once I completed high school, I moved to Washington, DC to pursue undergraduate studies. My primary interest growing up was learning about improving health and quality of life. Even though I had a passion for studying medicine, I became more intrigued with scientific research. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, I worked at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a postbaccalaureate fellow. Afterward, I enrolled in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine graduate program at UBC.

Tell us about your research:

According to the World Health Organization, about 50% of the world’s population lives in regions where the dengue virus (DENV) is endemic. About 25,000 deaths are reported annually from symptomatic patients exhibiting severe hemorrhage and vascular leakage. The most common clinical manifestation observed in all forms of DENV infection is the reduction of platelet numbers which can lead to clinical bleeding (thrombocytopenia). However, the mechanism by which DENV induces thrombocytopenia is not well understood. My research focuses on DENV-infected platelets and megakaryocytes and following host and virus protein synthesis that can contribute to thrombocytopenia development during infection. 

What sparked your interest in science?

I am always interested in learning new things and expanding my knowledge in different areas of life. Growing up, I was always fascinated by blood and transfusion due to the unfortunate experience of losing an aunt from a hemorrhage during birth. 

What is your favorite thing about science?

I like the humility that comes from not understanding everything fully and the excitement that comes from understanding something better each day.  

Do you have any advice for young girls interested in STEM?

People like to share their expertise and things that they are passionate about. Ask and learn from those ahead of you in your area of interest and seek out good mentors that can see your potential. Lastly, build a community around you with diverse interests to help you grow in other areas of life. 

What award or achievement are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my ability to stay on track despite challenges. It is easy to be proud of a specific achievement, but to keep showing up and trying again is an underrated achievement that anyone can experience every day in the field of research. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you to all the mentors that supported me throughout my journey as a girl in STEM.


Thanks to Tseday for sharing her story with us! February 11 is recognized by the United Nations as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which highlights the contributions of women in STEM and aims for full and equal access to participation in science, technology, and innovation for women and girls.