New Summer, New City, New Lab!

The view from my room.

The view from my room.

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’m finally settled into the new city that I’ll be calling my home for the summer: the land of cheese curds and Habs, Montreal.

I was offered a research internship at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) for the summer, so I naturally jumped at the opportunity! At the Institute, I’m researching new therapies for breast cancer.

Montreal’s always had a reputation as being a fun city, and now I can see why! Even though I’ve only been here for two weeks, everyone I’ve met has been very welcoming and friendly.

13262087_10157271950955221_1897380175_oMy first day, I took a stroll around the downtown area and came across things ranging from a bow-and-arrow version of paintball (don’t worry, the arrows are foam) and a tomahawk-throwing range (yes, you read that right). This was only my first day, so I knew I was in for a killer summer.

The weather here is almost more variable than Victoria! Today, it’s 26 degrees out, but last Sunday it was snowing! That definitely took me by surprise, but I think we’re now into the full swing of the summer weather, so I’m going to have to be stocking up on sunscreen to avoid the lobster look.

I also have to talk about where I’m working. IRIC feels like a research institute you’d see in the movies, kind of like the OsCorp laboratory building from The Amazing Spider-Man.

13275388_10157271950565221_1544278776_oIRIC has 28 labs and 400 employees, and is truly hitting cancer from every possible angle, ranging from drug design to immunobiology. It’s unreal to see so many scientists from so many different disciplines collaborating together with one common goal: to accelerate the discovery of new therapies. The IRIC also has a very social aspect to it: everyone seems to know everyone, and it feels like a community, similar to UVic’s science faculty.

Although I was intimidated to be arriving in a new lab with new protocols and research methods, I was surprised when I actually started picking things up a lot faster than I expected. I owe that to the hands-on approach of UVic’s Biochemistry & Microbiology program, which gave me the lab skills I need to succeed in a new environment, and have made the transition much easier than I expected.

This is a bit of a shorter post, but I haven’t been here for long! Expect longer posts as I get further into the summer.

spider man

Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War

Oh, and on an unrelated side note: if you haven’t seen Captain America: Civil War yet, get on it. There’s a cheap movie theater down the street from the IRIC, so I’ve seen the movie four times now and still haven’t gotten tired of it.

I’m a lifelong fan of Spider-Man, and Tom Holland is easily the best on-screen Spider-Man that we’ve ever had. It’s gonna be hard to make a superhero movie that’s able to top this powerhouse. #TeamIronMan

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