Lisa Shao, Molecular Genetics
Student’s Name: Lisa Shao
Program: Master of Science, Department of Molecular Genetics
Student’s work, scholarships/awards, current position, future plan and career goals:
I am very grateful for the graduate school experience because it has provided me with the opportunity to learn and develop skills that will allow me to excel in my future endeavours. My supervisor was phenomenal in supporting my growth professionally. I had the opportunity to present my work in several conferences and to share my work in publications. Some of the awards I received during my studies included: SickKids Graduate Scholarship (RESTRACOMP), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC), School of Graduate Studies Travel Grant, and SickKids Travel Award. Furthermore, my supervisor supported my growth personally. Not only did she give me advice on ways to develop my communication skills (writing and public speaking), she encouraged me to become a more confident person. Beyond the lab, I worked as a Don at Chestnut Residence to build a welcoming community for a floor of undergraduate students and pursued other passions like teaching science to youth in the community. I was awarded with the University of Toronto Gordon Cressy Leadership Award for my contributions to the school and faculty.
My research project used Drosophila (the fruit fly) as a model to study gene expression regulation at the translation level (from RNA to protein). Proper expression of protein at the right place and at the right time within a cell and during development is essential in maintaining homeostasis. Defects in this process contribute to many diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders. I found that several paralogs of a key translation regulator (eIF4E) carry out different roles during development, where mutants of these paralogs lead to different phenotypes. One of the next steps is to figure out how these paralogs are regulated to have different functions. I am excited that my project led to more exciting questions to be solved!
As a new graduate (August 2019), I am exploring different career paths. I am very interested in science communications, where I can combine my passion for science and love for art/writing/presenting together. The foundational skills I have gained from my graduate training will definitely help as I apply for jobs in this field. Who knows? Maybe I will go back to school to continue down the path of learning! The world is my oyster.