Tell us about your training at MIRC

I am a 4th year PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Karen Mossman (Dept. of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences). My project focuses on the use of immunotherapies such as low dose chemotherapy, oncolytic viruses and checkpoint blockade antibodies for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. In particular, I have an interest in the role of B cell receptor signaling pathways and their effects and interactions with various immune populations (such as immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells).

What kind of impact do you hope your research will have?

I hope that my research will help to build a stronger understanding of the complex interplay between basic cancer biology and the immune system, so that more patients may benefit from efficacious immunotherapy treatments that are rapidly emerging in the clinic.

Why did you choose to do your graduate studies at MIRC?

MIRC is a dynamic institute housing some of the foremost leaders in the field of immunotherapy. With so many experts from diverging fields under one roof it is a great trainee environment for students to gain collaborative, impactful insight and feedback to their work. I chose MIRC as it provided me with the atmosphere, leadership and facilities to conduct impactful research in cancer therapies.

What is your favourite thing about completing your graduate studies at MIRC?

My favourite thing about completing my graduate studies at MIRC is the collaborative nature of our institute. It allows for a variety of input from people with differing perspectives and backgrounds, which helps to shape my project and guide my research in an impactful way.

What advice would you give to aspiring graduate students?

When looking for a place to undertake graduate studies, make sure you take the time to not only vet the university and specialized facilities, but also ensure that you choose a supervisor whose personality and leadership style fits with your expectations. I am fortunate to have an excellent supervisor in Dr. Mossman and this has allowed me to have a productive and enjoyable PhD experience.

Where do you see yourself after your time at MIRC?

After I complete my time at MIRC I will likely pursue a post-doctoral position, also in the field of immunotherapy. Ideally, I will use this position to springboard my career either in academia or in an industry position in the field of oncology.