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June 2015

Contributing to prostate cancer research in Canada

Indian student Birbal Prasad is an explorer. As a mathematics student from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Pune), coming to Canada was an opportunity for exploration, not only to a new country, but within his field of research.

This desire to explore has led him to a Mitacs Globalink Research Internship at the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s University this summer. Under the supervision of Professor Robert Gooding, Birbal is using statistical techniques to understand how genetic or environmental factors may contribute to accelerated growth of tumours during advanced stages of prostate cancer.  Using information from research like Birbal’s, clinical researchers may be able to make predictions about the potential success or failure of treatments for a patient with this aggressive form of cancer.

Working with Professor Gooding has been a perfect fit for Birbal’s research aspirations: 

This project is a dream come true. It’s challenging but exciting, and it develops my critical thinking. It feels good to being doing research that could have such an important influence on the world!”

Since arriving in Kingston, Birbal has met with clinicians at the Department of Oncology and the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, and with researchers in other areas of physics and mathematics to better understand their work and to develop his project.  This combined experience has allowed Birbal to explore the more applied aspects of his field of research, and to develop understandings of other research that might influence his findings.  

In fact, he is considering making a career from research like this. “Long term, Canada would be a great place for me to do my graduate studies. The importance that is given to research and innovation here, and the quality of the research is very attractive for my future.” 

 


Mitacs would like to thank Industry Canada, the Governments of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, and Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies. Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Brazil’s le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education.