Published on February 25th, 2016 | by Sonya Kim0
Could you give us a quick overview of what your project is about?
I am studying the development of immunological memory to viral LCMV cl13, a virus that is capable of causing chronic infection in mice and is used as a model for hepatitis. My hypothesis is that blockade of the FGL2-FcγRIIB/RIII pathway, which is an immunomodulatory pathway, leads to enhanced immunological memory to the virus.
What’s your favourite thing about your project?
My favourite aspect of my current project is how translatable it is. Labs all over the world use LCMV cl-13 as a model to study other viruses, including viral hepatitis. Chronic viral infection is a major global health issue, with millions of people across the globe currently infected. My project revolves around studying the immune response during chronic infection and looking for ways to prevent the virus from persisting. This can result in real health benefits in terms of hepatitis B and C prevention and treatment, which is very rewarding for me.
How has your research experience influenced your future plans?
My research experiences so far have shown me that a career in research can be very rewarding.
Do you have other research experiences as well?
In the past I was a volunteer in a clinical lab as part of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre.
Are you involved in other activities outside the lab?
I am part of the physiology and immunology student associations (UPSA & IMMSA), as well as various clubs within UofT. In the past I have tutored 1st and 2nd year courses and been an exam aid instructor for second year physiology courses. I have been a clinical assistant Toronto General Hospital since my first year at UofT, and I am currently a tutor with the Saturday Program where I tutor high school students on weekends. In my spare time I like to study.
What advice would you have for other students looking to get involved in research?
My biggest piece of advice when looking to get involved in research is to start contacting PIs early in year because labs spots get taken very quickly.
How did you get your current research position?
I got my current position by contacting Dr. Levy during my third year of undergrad and asking him if he would be willing to take me on as a summer student and IMM450 student due to my interest in immunology and virology, which his lab focuses on.