Meet Hamza Khan: Returning to Canada to find cures for disease

Former Globalink Research Intern dreams of curing disease through his graduate research

Home Institution/Country:
Vellore Institute of Technology, India

Globalink Research Internship Supervisor
Dr. Steven Zimmerly, Professor of Biological Sciences

Globalink Research Internship Host University in summer 2013
University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences

Returning University and Program in fall 2014
University of British Columbia, CIHR Bioinformatics Training Program

Q. What was your favorite part about researching in Canada through Globalink?

A. My favourite part about the research was the support and guidance provided by the professors and researchers in my department. I appreciated the way my project supervisor, Dr. Zimmerly, explained all the concepts that were most important for my project and supported me at every step.

Q. What was a favorite memory or experience about your time in Canada?

A.  I learned to ice skate in a single day! I had never seen a skating rink before and the first one that I saw was the majestic Olympic Oval at the U of C. The first day I was on the ice, I skated for hours, dragging myself around, stumbling and slipping. Even though the skates cut my feet, I was too excited to feel the pain! After struggling for hours, I was able to skate with the help of a man from Russia who gave me a few quick lessons.

Q. What prompted you to return to Canada for graduate studies?

The internship experience at the University of Calgary was an open window to familiarize myself with the work ethic, facilities, knowledge-gaining opportunities and the international research scenario in Canadian universities.  The multitude of resources and faculty interests at the different Canadian universities represented the kind of academic environment that I was looking for. I also applied to the Globalink Graduate Fellowship through Mitacs, which will help me in my return.

Q. What are your hopes for your graduate research in Canada?

I am a firm believer of the mantra that ‘Research saves lives’.  Thus, I want to investigate the various causes behind diseases so that we may advance their treatments.

Most of the projects that I have carried out until now were related to diseases in some way, involving different techniques with Ciprofloxacin antibiotics, the H1N1 virus, HIV and construction of an autoimmune and neurological disease database.

I have a curiosity to unravel the causes behind the different diseases that affect mankind and to fight for their treatment. Through this opportunity, I want to learn, perform, excel and be a major contributor in the field of health research in Canada in the future.

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and  Alberta Innovates for their support of the Globalink research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:


Mitacs empowers Canadian innovation through effective partnerships that deliver solutions to our most pressing problems. By driving economic growth and productivity, we create meaningful change to improve quality of life for all Canadians.