We routinely hires student research assistants to work in the lab on industry partner applied research projects. Students gain hands-on training and experience of working in a lab, as well as working with industry companies in the field.
Beyond paid lab work, we also provide supports for KPU students' course-based research projects.
Learn more about what you can expect from working in the Applied Genomics Centre from the experiences of current and former students.
Current Applied Genomics Centre Students
Aedriane is a 4th year student in KPU’s Health Science Honours program, minoring in Biology. An employee of the Applied Genomics Centre, working in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture and the KPU Biology Fish Facility, Aedriane’s responsibilities include the care and maintenance of aquarium systems and research fish colonies. Aedriane also participates in Zebrafish toxicology projects that include the TOL2 system gene transferring tool and microinjection procedures.
By working in this role, Aedriane is developing a firm understanding of the care requirements for model organisms. Additionally, Aedriane is learning laboratory skills and procedures that are not taught in the classroom.
Muskan joined the Applied Genomics Centre as a student research assistant in November 2023. Muskan is a 2nd year student in KPU’s Bachelor of Health Science program with a minor in Biology.
Working at the AGC, Muskan uses tools and techniques of modern biotechnology to gain practical lab experience. Working on various projects, Muskan has opportunity to apply concepts she learned in the classroom and experience how genomics is used to improve agriculture.
Jackson is a 3rd year student of KPU’s Health Sciences program, on track to graduation in 2025. Jackson started working in the Applied Genomics Centre as a student research assistant in November 2023.
Jackson joins the AGC with great enthusiasm, eager to work on a team in the lab environment. Jackson anticipates that the skills and knowledge gained by the hands-on experience will be integral both during this academic experience and after graduation.
Tamryn is in the 3rd year of the Bachelor of Science degree program with a major in Biology. Tamryn joined the Applied Genomics Centre in May 2023 as a student research assistant after learning about the position from a fellow classmate.
By working in the AGC, Tamryn is learning new skills, practicing laboratory techniques, and expanding her knowledge about the interdisciplinary fields of computational biology and bioinformatics.
Katie is a 2nd year student of KPU’s Bachelor of Horticulture Science program, major in Plant Health and minor in Policy Studies. Katie started as a student research assistant in the Applied Genomics Centre in May 2023, after learning about the opportunity at a horticulture student social where KPU students got to meet with industry professionals to discuss future career options.
Working in the field and the AGC laboratories, Katie is learning how to use various tools and techniques to conduct genomic research.
Emma is 3rd year student of KPU’s Bachelor of Horticulture Science program, major in Urban Ecosystems. Emma started working as a student research assistant in May 2023. She first heard about the Applied Genomics Centre from one of her professors, then after reading about the great variety of experiential learning opportunities provided at the Centre she decided to apply.
Working at the AGC, Emma will have opportunity to apply the knowledge she acquired through her KPU coursework and expand her scientific experience. She will develop laboratory skills by practicing genetic tests and plant breeding techniques using state-of-the art equipment under the mentorship of highly experienced team leaders
RJ graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree in the spring of 2020 after completing a human health honours project. Under the supervision of Dr. Paul Adams and Dr. Ann Marie Davison, RJ used site-directed mutagenesis to produce an in vitro model of a migraine mutation in the calcium channel gene CACNA1A responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine in humans.
In January 2022, RJ returned to the Applied Genomics Centre to work on his Master’s project. In partnership with Thompson Rivers University and a ranch in Beaverdell, RJ is studying the heat resistance of cattle. Using genetic tools, RJ is tracking the single mutation that causes cattle from the tropics to be heat resistant. He is also assessing the heat resistance capabilities of cattle with this mutation using gene expression and blood protein markers related to heat stress. The hope is to help breeders produce beef cattle that are better able to sustain Canada’s rising temperatures.
RJ has really enjoyed working in the AGC laboratory. The “experience has allowed me to open up my options for careers in the future” said RJ.
Former Applied Genomics Centre Students
Sharmin is a 3rd year student in the Bachelor of Horticulture Science program, major in Plant Health. Sharmin started working as a student research assistant in the Applied Genomics Centre in May 2023. She learned about the opportunity from her professor, a research scientist who works at the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) at KPU.
Sharmin considers the opportunity to work at the AGC as a step along her chosen career path of becoming a plant pathologist. Immersed in the world of research, working in a scientific community with the AGC laboratory team and industry partners, Sharmin will develop new abilities through a variety of experiences and cultivate problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills that will prepare her for future academic and personal successes.
In June of 2023, Taylor graduated from KPU’s Bachelor Health Science program with a minor in Biology. While studying at KPU, Taylor worked as a student research assistant in the Applied Genomics Centre. In addition, Taylor worked on an honours research project for which she received an award from the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Conference held in Los Angeles. Of the 550 conference attendees, Taylor was the only Canadian research student.
While working at the AGC, Taylor used leading-edge laboratory equipment, gained practical skills, and developed problem-solving abilities. Taylor’s time at the AGC strengthened her confidence in pursuing a career in research. She enjoyed the hands-on work and values how the opportunity equipped her with tools that will make her a competitive applicant for graduate school programs. The experience also fostered her personal growth. For example, Taylor now perceives “setbacks [as] part of the process [that makes] you a better researcher since they push you to find answers that may not readily be available to you”.
Krista joined the AGC in October 2022 working part time as a student research assistant while studying in the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree program. The main focus of Krista’s work was with the Zebrafish. Working on multiple toxicology projects, some that include the CRISPR gene-editing tool and microinjection procedures, Krista developed the knowledge and understanding required to care for the laboratory animals.
Working at the AGC while studying at KPU helped Krista pull together concepts across her coursework. Additionally, she developed laboratory skills and learned procedures and techniques that were not introduced in the classroom. The experience strengthened her problem-solving skills and heighted her level of determination. Krista discovered how set-backs can be a positive and necessary part learning.
Erick is a graduate of the Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Health Science program, minor in Biology. He joined the Applied Genomics Centre in May of 2021 and worked as a student research assistant for two years while completing his degree.
Working at the AGC while studying, Erick assisted on several projects analyzing genome sequences, investigating the composition of microorganisms, researching trends in large datasets, and designing diagnostic detection tools. Erick’s wide variety of experiences allowed him to learn and practice skills specific to the scientific research industry and improve other important attributes including his writing, presentation, time management and organizational skills.
An important thing Erick discovered while working in the AGC Lab is the importance of staying curious and maintaining a sense of wonder and excitement about his work. “Curiosity is a key driving force behind scientific research … staying curious allows us to approach scientific questions with an open mind [and] challenges with a sense of determination and perseverance, even in the face of setbacks or unexpected results” said Erick.
Anureet is a former student of KPU’s Bachelor of Science degree program. Anureet joined the Applied Genomics Centre in May 2023 as a student research assistant after learning about the opportunity from her genetics and biochemistry professors.
By working in the AGC, Anureet experienced hands-on opportunities to apply the knowledge she gained from her genetics, biochemistry and cell biology coursework at KPU. Anureet learned more about the research industry and enjoyed contributing to the scientific community.
Monique graduated from KPU’s Bachelor of Science program with a major in Biology in 2023. Her passion for plant molecular biology and machine learning led her to work on exciting projects at the Applied Genomics Centre.
Monique contributed to a hops project by developing a high-throughput machine learning imaging system to detect lupulin glands on hop leaves for phenotypic profiling. Her peers were impressed by the innovation of her work, which she presented as a poster at the 2023 Plant and Animal Genome conference in San Diego, where it was well-received by other researchers. In addition to the hops project, Monique worked on a plant breeding project aimed at producing new varieties of ornamentals using traditional and modern breeding techniques. Monique’s work on both projects provided her with valuable experience in the field of plant molecular biology and the opportunity to work with industry partners.
During her time at the AGC, Monique discovered that research is not always a smooth and easy process. At times, when faced with resource availability limitations for example, she was required to find creative solutions for how to move forward and progress with her projects. Monique also learned that collaboration is essential in overcoming challenges. Seeking the input of colleagues often led Monique to discover new ideas and problem-solving approaches. Monique’s experience at the AGC provided valuable insights and confirmed her passion for research. As a post graduate, Monique plans to continue in research by pursuing a career in biotechnology and molecular biology.
Jake started working in the Applied Genomics Centre as a student research assistant in May of 2021. Working with zebrafish as a model organism, the main focus of Jake’s projects involved vertebrate toxicology, agricultural biocontrol safety testing, and CRISPR gene-editing. Additionally, Jake gained experience in microscopy, project management and design, animal husbandry, qPCR, sequencing, and manuscript writing.
Jake attributes a large part of his scientific skill development to the opportunity to work in the AGC. Jake is confident that his future career goals will benefit from this prior research experience. Working in the lab, Jake learned to take challenges in stride, “…issues that come up always seem like insurmountable obstacles to be tackled but once you start, everything falls into place”, said Jake.
Daleena started working in the Applied Genomics Centre as a student research assistant in October of 2021. The opportunity to work at the AGC while studying in the BSc in Health Science degree program expanded Daleena’s research knowledge.
Her laboratory experience included data analysis and laboratory techniques such as PCR, qPCR, sequencing, extractions, making media, mutagenesis, electrophoresis, quantifying DNA, and transformations.
Working at the AGC, Daleena enjoyed learning about the different work opportunities and fields that one can explore through science. She also discovered that science involves “a lot of trial and error” and how significantly the help of a supportive team impacts the success of the project.
Ekam worked in the Applied Genomics Centre as a student research assistant from September 2022 to March 2023 while studying in KPU’s Bachelor of Science degree program, major in Biology.
Ekam’s time spent in the AGC included hands-on work that allowed him to gain strong experience in laboratory techniques on state-of-the-art genomics equipment. He sharpened his organization, communication, and time management skills. Working on a number of projects, Ekam had opportunity to work with laboratory equipment computer coding (Python), bioinformatics, PCR and Sanger sequencing.
Before working in the AGC Lab, Ekam had not given grad school much thought, however, after participating in many interesting research projects grad school became an avenue Ekam hopes to pursue.
Michael graduated from KPU's Health Science Honours program in January 2021. With a specific interest in the field of bioinformatics, he worked on a course-based research projects as part of his honours degree.
Michael is now employed at the Applied Genomics Centre as a junior bioinformatician. Michael’s work experiences in the AGC has allowed him to contribute to a variety of lab projects, including identifying the genetic variations that cause hereditary ataxia in two BC families, developing protocols to study DNA methylation in IVF embryos, and developing new genetic based diagnostic tools for nematodes in BC soils.
His experience has also allowed him to engage with the larger research community. In 2020, Michael presented his ataxia research to academic and political leaders at the Colleges & Institutes Canada (CICan) in Ottawa, and the US National Ataxia Foundation conference in Denver, Colorado. In January 2023, Michael presented two posters at the Plant and Animal Genomics Conference in San Diego for his research on methylation in IVF embryos, and the genetic based diagnostic tool for nematodes.
For Michael, the most important thing about working in the Applied Genomics Centre has been discovering how much he enjoys the process of doing research. Michael recently was accepted into the UBC PhD program in Medical Genetics. He will be starting that chapter of his career in September of 2023.
Pavan worked in the Applied Genomics Centre in 2018 and 2019, first for a course-based research project, and then as a student research assistant. His research focused on developing a technique to accurately distinguish hops varieties using molecular techniques.
In April 2019, Pavan graduated from KPU with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Soon after he joined BC Neuroimmunology as a laboratory technician, continuing his work in the field of molecular biology.
"My time in the [Applied Genomics Centre] lab was critical for me to develop the foundational skills that are desired by employers," said Pavan.