Courteney Lai
Courteney Lai, Graduate Student (PhD), Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency Research Centre; and President, Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Society of the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre

Blog Posts by Courteney Lai

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 blog posts

Decisions and the Future

Being a graduate student at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre (CRC) in Vancouver, I am fortunate to be exposed to many great opportunities in research and ideas for how and where to go from here in my career. Having had the opportunity to be exposed to and involved in research on a national and international scale, I can confidently say that I enjoy research. I love the challenge of unraveling puzzles and being part of leading-edge research discoveries. In addition, I am passionate about creating and supporting the community of research at the Agency. This is one of the reasons I chose to...

Mentorship

The process of becoming a scientist is certainly a complicated one, maybe lifelong. A key part of this process I’ve experienced, that is just as important as learning the science and research methods, is mentorship. Mentorship has helped me transition from being a new, ‘green’ student to feeling confident in my research and contributing to the team here at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre (CRC). Naturally, the supervisor-student relationship is one of the most important relationships in a researcher’s academic career. It is the supervising scientist’s responsibility to take the raw...

Blood Cancers and my Hopes for Scientific Research

As my close family has, unfortunately, been affected by cancer, I can relate to that feeling of urgency and desire to accelerate research and better understand cancer. As a family member, I want to know that more effective and less toxic treatments are on the horizon. As a researcher, I want to discover the same thing. This means learning how cancers exert their effect and finding the changes that occur on the cellular level, so that potential drug targets can be identified. Leukemia is cancer of the blood, the name is derived from the Greek language: leuko meaning white and emia meaning...

Inspired by the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre

My search for a research laboratory focused on studying diseases immediately led me to the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre (BCCRC) and its Terry Fox Laboratory. I soon learned that the latter was a multidisciplinary group primarily focused on understanding leukemia and advancing treatments. When I was offered a co-op work placement in this lab, I accepted without hesitation. More specifically, I saw this as a great opportunity to learn more about stem cell biology and study cancer and leukemia. I first worked under the supervision of senior members of Dr. Keith Humphries’s lab, an...

My Undergraduate Career

After high school, I was accepted to the University of British Columbia (UBC). I knew I wanted to focus on cell biology and genetics, study the effects of genetics on how cells work, and how this influences health and disease. But I was at a loss for how this could become my career path. Eventually I learned about the Cooperative Education program at UBC. This program allowed me to gain related experience in my field of study while completing my first degree. It extended my academic career by an extra year, but in the end I gained more than a year of experience in my field of study and...

Origins of a scientist part II

Continuing from my previous post, what ultimately helped to navigate my academic career towards science was a fantastic science teacher I had in Grade 10. He did two things that caught my attention most. First, our year-long assignment was to bring articles about science in the news, and each week, my teacher would pick the most interesting news and breakthroughs to share with our class to discuss the findings and their significance. This opened our eyes to the idea that science was more than what we learned in our textbooks—it’s what is happening all the time and has major implications on...

Origins of a scientist part I

My name is Courteney Lai, and I am a PhD student in the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre in Vancouver. I am supervised by Dr. Keith Humphries, who is the Director of the Terry Fox Laboratory, and Dr. Sam Aparicio (a previous guest blogger, too), the Head of Molecular Oncology. First off, I would like to express how honoured I am to be included in this distinguished group of guest bloggers. I feel privileged to participate and share my experience in the Research Centre with you—our partners in discovery . Although I am not a doctor (PhD), just yet, I want to share...