An Outstanding Team

an outstanding team at mircThere are many examples of trainees who flourish within the research environment at MIRC, and the collaborative network of the research center is pivotal for the success of trainees, as well as staff and faculty. Members of Dr. Ali Ashkar's research team were recently acknowledged for their outstanding work, underlining the importance of a great team.

An Outstanding Team

an outstanding team at mircThere are many examples of trainees who flourish within the research environment at MIRC, and the collaborative network of the research center is pivotal for the success of trainees, as well as staff and faculty. Members of Dr. Ali Ashkar's research team were recently acknowledged for their outstanding work, underlining the importance of a great team. Graduate student Amanda Lee was awarded the prestigious Vanier Scholarship for her work in characterizing the early immune response against genital herpes infection. The scholarship, which includes $50,000 annually for up to three years, is awarded by CIHR to attract the most promising doctoral students to Canada. Amanda did her undergraduate in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster, and recently transferred to the Medical Sciences Graduate Program under the supervision of Dr. Ashkar. She has previously been awarded a one year CIHR Master's Award for her outstanding work.

"The best part about being a graduate student is learning something new every day and that every day is different", Amanda says. Collaborating and discussing experiments with others is also something Amanda cherishes. She praises the research environment at MIRC, where there is always someone to discuss data, or troubleshoot a protocol with. Amanda takes everything one step at the time, but her mind is already set on continuing her research career with a post-doc, and she dreams of starting up her own research group. One thing is certain; she is intent to stay in the research field.

Marianne Chew, a research technician in Dr. Ashkar's lab was honored with the GSA Award for Contributions by Non-Academic Staff at the 17th Annual Graduate Student Awards, held during welcoming week. The awards were initiated as means to acknowledge invaluable contributions of staff at McMaster. Marianne has been with Dr. Ashkar since September 2009 and works on a wide range of projects, including immune responses against genital herpes infection together with Amanda. Marianne has an Undergraduate degree in biology and a Master's in neuroscience within the McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery & Study (MINDS) program. She plays a key supportive role, and lends a welcomed and much needed hand to all the students in the Ashkar lab. "I wouldn't be able to do any of my experiments without Marianne", Amanda declares. Marianne also reviews written material for the whole lab, gives important feedback on presentations and always goes the extra mile to help out the students in the lab. Both young researchers are candid and humble, and it's easy to see how much they enjoy working together. Marianne closes with complementing Amanda; "she's an amazing student, with a very promising future, she says. "I can't wait to see what the future will bring for her, she continues, and finishes with "it will be bright, that's for sure".

The awards given to Marianne and Amanda are evidence of not only their individual excellence but also indicate that a great team can accomplish scientific excellence when working together. Congratulations to both Marianne and Amanda!

 

Written by Dr. Abraham Roos

 

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