2014-2015 Yoojin (left)

Published on May 24th, 2015 | by Sonya Kim

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Yoojin Choi

Yoojin (left) is a McGill University student who presented her work at OQUIC this year.

How did you get your current research position?
During my second year, my TA for a microbiology/immunology course told me that her PI was looking for an undergraduate student for the summer. I told her I was very much interested in the position, and I was accepted to the laboratory soon after an interview. I have been working in the same laboratory since then.

Could you give us a quick overview of what your project is about?
My work in the laboratory has been focused on looking into the effects of an antiviral therapy candidate called liposome-complexed poly(I:C) for cystic fibrosis patients. My first project was investigating the potential for this drug to induce inflammation in healthy airway epithelial cells and monocyte-derived macrophages. My most recent study has been comparing the effects of this particular drug with other proposed therapies in inducing various antiviral cytokines and interferon responsive genes.What’s your favourite thing about your project?
I find that with the work I am doing in this laboratory, I can apply the knowledge from lectures into something more concrete. Moreover, I like that the clinical relevance for my project is very clear.

How has your research experience influenced your future plans?
My research experience has shaped me into an individual capable of viewing things with a critical mind instead of simply accepting what others say. I also appreciate the power of teamwork as I have developed troubleshooting abilities through literature research and lab meetings over the years.

Do you have other research experiences as well?
In my first year, I worked in a biophysics laboratory as I initially thought of majoring in quantitative biology. The team was interested in investigating spindle assembly during cell division.

Are you involved in other activities outside the lab?
Music – particularly singing and playing the piano – has always been a part of my life. My other major involvements include being the President of a fundraising club for the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Director of SUS Peer Tutoring program at McGill University.

What advice would you have for other students looking to get involved in research?
Do research in something you feel passionate about, and never feel discouraged. Learning and trying new things constitute the majority of research, so you are bound to feel challenged at times. But it is extremely rewarding when you persist and figure things out in the end!


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