Researcher at age 19!
Bent over a microscope, Jamie Ghossein carefully harvests cells from the kidney of a mouse. The cells are being studied to track a receptor called EP3 (prostaglandin E2/ receptor 3) that could potentially assist in treating certain types of kidney disease (or even diseases such as diabetes, which can affect the kidneys).
This is precision work, and Jamie carries it out masterfully, befitting someone with two years’ experience as a team member at the world-class Kidney Research Centre. Yet Jamie is only 19 years old.
For Jamie, finding a treatment to improve quality of life for those suffering from kidney problems is a goal with personal significance. Three of his family members need daily dialysis treatments.
“I’ve always had a passion for science, and I worked really hard to get good grades.” That hard work was rewarded with a URS, which served as a launch pad for Jaime. “I worked with the team all summer, and then I started my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. That gave me lots of experience in the lab and was the starting point for my career as a researcher.”
Jamie already has a publication to his name. He is an author of an article that will appear shortly in the journal Diabetologia. In addition to his laboratory work — which he has been able to continue during his studies — Jamie takes part in provincial competitions, such as the Undergraduate Science Case Competition (USCC), where his team came second in 2015 out of more than 700 students. Their presentation was on a new way to use estrogen to reduce the frequency of seizures.
On top of being a researcher, Jamie has discovered that he has a talent for teaching. Along with other scholarship recipients, he formed a science club (the Undergraduate Research Initiative) that gives all students from the Faculty the opportunity to hone their research skills.
“The students in this Faculty are the scientists of tomorrow. Some will go on to make major discoveries that improve our lives. But for that to happen, they need to have opportunities like the ones I had, and more scholarships that promote research need to be made available to them.”