Summer 2020 Ambassadors

Ann DuongAnn Duong

Hey peeps! I'm Ann and I'm an undergraduate student with a background in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and I'm very excited to be one of your research ambassadors this year.   

I've been lucky enough to be involved in two different labs at UNBC, the Lee lab where I got to find out whether stem-loop RNA molecules would be able to downregulate cancerous KRAS protein expression, and at the Northern Analytical Laboratory Service (NALS), where I'm currently getting my hands dirty with a big project involving detecting, quantifying and removing these nasty toxins called microcystins that are released from cyanobacteria.

You're probably wondering what research actually means. Well, research means a lot of things, but to me, it means having the ability to ask "why?" If you are curious and can ask "why?", you can do research. Try it. It's pretty easy. Well, not quite. You'll most likely need a proper place, the resources, and the tools to do the research. But worry not, because UNBC has plenty of those.

Other than the research opportunities UNBC has for undergraduates, I chose UNBC because of the other opportunities I had to get involved outside of academics such as clubs, employment, and outdoor activities. UNBC exceeded my expectations by not only providing a great education but a place to grow and develop as an individual. It is where I have met my extended family - my colleagues, friends, and community members that are my mentors and support for the past 4 years in a place very much far away from home.

Hooi Xian LeeHooi Xian Lee

My name is Hooi Xian Lee and I am a Ph.D. student in Health Sciences at UNBC under the supervision of Dr. Chow Lee. It has always been my dream to embark on a Ph.D. program. Hence, after the completion of my Master Degree in 2015, I have further pursued my interest and passion for enrolling into Ph.D. study at UNBC. I am excited about research at UNBC because Dr. Lee is well-known in the field of biochemistry and molecular especially in investigating the anti-cancer properties of wild mushrooms in northern BC. Also, he has published extensively in the oncology field. His work history is impressive and his team of researchers has managed to unveil a lot of exciting discoveries over the years of experiments. Recognition of his autobiography and achievements, I came to UNBC to further my Ph.D. study. I am excited to be part of Dr. Lee’s research team at UNBC whereby my research focuses on finding small molecule inhibitors of cancer cells. In Canada, approximately 1 in 2 Canadians is predicted to be diagnosed with cancer at a certain point during their lifetime. Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in Canada. Therefore, my research project seeks to develop a new potential drug that targets colorectal cancer. I will develop the small molecule drug through two different approaches which are by chemical synthesis and natural product isolation.

Research introduces me to great people! My favourite part of working at UNBC is meeting amazing people who help me to grow. I am given the opportunity to work with people from different sciences background and lab groups that may serve as guides, mentors, and friends outside of the lab. My lab members also helped me develop my laboratory skills and analytical skills when working in the lab. Furthermore, I am surprised that UNBC is very generous in providing research funding opportunities and financial aid to UNBC researchers. I am one of the recipients of the Graduate Entrance Research Award (GERA) and Research Project Awards (RPA) scholarships which have greatly supported my research study at UNBC. Also, research can enhance both my professional and academic credentials for future career advancement. For instance, RPA award has helped me to become more competitive by filling gaps in my CV, increasing my visibility, and putting me in a stronger position for my future career planning and progression besides supporting my research study.

It has always been my dream to be an educator since I was a kid. At the same time, I wanted to be a researcher as well. Therefore, I have decided to be a lecturer after I have completed my Ph.D. study. My research experiences will definitely add to my knowledge base and I could integrate research findings into my teaching. I am lucky to be given the chance to work as a teaching assistant at UNBC where I could apply all my research experiences in my teaching. For instance, I could convey the outcomes of my research study or research of others into my teaching and develop my students’ interest in learning about the advances in a certain area. It could also help to motivate them in conducting research for further knowledge contribution.