Postcard from Brazil: UBC student brings laser experiment to Rio de Janeiro

I knew I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity but I was still scared.  When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, I had no idea what to expect. It was my first trip to South America, I didn’t speak any Portuguese, and I only knew my Brazilian supervisor, whom I’d met once before.

After I landed, I was greeted at the airport and taken to UFRJ and then to my apartment in Santa Teresa, an old neighbourhood on a hill. Once I looked out my window and saw the view of the bay and Sugarloaf Mountain, I realized just where I was. It was amazing.

Announcing the Mitacs Globalink 2013 photo contest winners!

Globalink interns were invited to submit photos to one of three categories: “You and your university,” “You and your city,” and “You and your research.” Check out the winning category photos below.

 

You and your university

Winner: Martha Dourado from Universidade de Brasília. Canadian host university, Simon Fraser University.

 

 

Algorithms for public health

“Through this research internship, I have learned a lot about the various applications and software used for mapping virus genes,” Ye explains.

Alongside Dr. Stephane Aris-Brosou, from the University of Ottawa’s Department of Biology, Ye is creating a novel algorithm to analyze the evolution and transmission network of the virus.

Expanding her research horizons

Hailing from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Daniela is stationed at the University of Saskatchewan for 12 weeks to work alongside Professor Adelaine Leung in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her interest in neurocognitive and neurodegenerative diseases paired perfectly with Professor Leung’s research project on depression.

A passion for medicine

Working alongside Dr. Tim Storr in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Chemistry, Laura and her team of colleagues are screening compounds that bind metals, such as zinc and copper, to look for therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. For Laura, the hands-on research and interactive laboratory setting has been a rewarding experience. “Collaborating with my labmates has been truly inspirational. We’re tackling the project from different perspectives and sharing our methods of research.”

Fueling a greener tomorrow

Marina and Professor Hawboldt are researching an alternative energy source to petroleum that recycles typically discarded natural resources, including forestry residue from sawmills and pulp and paper plants, as well as fish oil from fish processing plants.

Marina is investigating extraction methods to create high-quality fuel from these resources, and this fuel can then be used for cars or as a means to treat waste water.

New waves of communication

Alongside Dr. Frank Rudzicz of University of Toronto’s Department of Computer Science, Soumendu is constructing software that will improve the quality of life of individuals with speech disorders.

Using electroencephalography (EEG) signals from patients, Soumendu is collecting data from linguistic centers of the brain and areas involved in motor planning. This data will contribute to the development of tools that will allow patients to communicate via EEG signals by the use of an artificial articulator.

A path to understanding cell migration

This innovative system will allow for highly controlled quantitative data, which will provide efficient cell migration analysis. The research is important because it reveals the underlying mechanisms behind the process of wound healing and other vital cell functions.   

Song’s internship in Canada has provided him with hands-on experience that offered insight into a research field that he intends to pursue in graduate studies.

Giving his all to cancer research

It is Luis Arvizu’s comprehensive prospective on scientific discovery that brings him to Queen’s University, where he is currently researching under Dr. Myron Szewczuk from the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. Luis comes from Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey where he is pursuing his undergraduate degree in Engineering and Biotechnology.

Luis’ Globalink research project has him examining the novel use of a drug that inhibits the production and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body, while making chemotherapy-resistant cells more susceptible to treatment. 

Surveilling the threat of ovarian cancer

Currently, ovarian cancer is the fifth most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths for women in Western countries, largely due to its often illusive symptoms and lack of adequate screening methods.

“Participating in research on ovarian cancer has been a rewarding experience. I have learned what it means to be a researcher, what we do in the lab is for the greater good of society,” says Rebeca.

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