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Thu, Apr 27



[Ottawa Chapter] Panel event: Where can your degree take you?

Join us for a Q&A session with a diverse panel consisting of health science professionals with unique educational backgrounds and roles!

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[Ottawa Chapter] Panel event: Where can your degree take you?
[Ottawa Chapter] Panel event: Where can your degree take you?

Time & Location

Apr 27, 2023, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EDT



About the Event

The objective of this panel event is to discuss what's its like to pursue a graduate degree in the health sciences field and give attendees an idea of the career paths that open up for both MSc or PhD gradutes. Our four panelists will explore what made them chose their educational and professional trajectories, and how they leveraged their degrees to build their careers, along with any other related topics of interest to the attendees.

Speaker Bios: 

Matthew Hoekstra (PhD):

My name is Matthew Hoekstra and I graduate from Carleton University last year with a PhD in Biology with a specialization in biochemistry. I am an experienced scientist with extensive knowledge surrounding biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. I have practical experience in assay development and application, method development and application and protein/enzyme purification and characterization. I have been published in various journals such as Analytical biochemistry, journal of biochemistry and star protocols and have a patent based around development of a peptide-based inhibitor.

Malcolm Latorre (PhD):

Malcolm Latorre Ph.D.  P.Eng. graduated from Western U with a BSc in Electrical Engineering. He worked in industry for 13 years before starting a master’s in physics which eventually became a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Today he works as a research scientist supporting work in various labs.

Melanie Arbour (MSc):

Mélanie Arbour is a Research Council Officer and the Team Lead of the Microbial Fermentation Team at NRC. After getting her master's degree, she started her career as a technician, or technical officer, becoming an expert in molecular biology and microbiology applied to biomanufacturing. She now leads a team of 16 people with different backgrounds, from engineers to biologists, to develop Canadian companies' ideas into commercialized products.

Rayanna Birtch (MSc):

Rayanna Birtch completed her BScH in the Life Sciences (2020) and subsequently her MSc (2021) in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine with specializations in Cancer Research at Queen’s University. Here, she researched novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in triple-negative breast cancer. She then went on to pursue a PhD in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa working on identifying, characterizing and improving the specificity of novel cancer-killing therapeutic viruses called oncolytic viruses. Just over a year into her PhD, Rayanna made the decision to leave her PhD program to explore new life and career options. She moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia and entered the Biotech space as a Sales and Marketing Territorial Assistant Manager at BioBasic Inc. Rayanna has also been a part of the S2BN Mentorship Program for the past two years and is extremely passionate about career mentorship and life coaching. She encourages anyone that wants to chat to reach out!

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