Monika Syrzycka - Dissertation du lauréat, 2008

Monika Syrzycka

My career plan is to research the mechanisms underlying human disease, first as a postdoctoral fellow, and then as a principal investigator in my own lab. I became interested in medical research in high school, when the doctors treating my mom's leukemia told us that all treatment possibilities have been exhausted. I enrolled in the B.Sc. program in Biological Sciences at a local university, and graduated with an Honour's degree. I gained valuable research experience working as a Co-op student in a number of industry and university labs.

I began my Master's program at a Cancer Research Centre, where I studied the function of a trans-membrane protein on the surface of early blood progenitor cells. I subsequently transferred into the PhD program and researched protein interactions of an enzyme implicated in prostate cancer.

I interrupted my studies when my twin daughters were born. In the next few years, I worked in research labs and became a single mom. Juggling different roles was difficult, but three years ago I decided that in order to pursue my dream of doing meaningful research, I needed to return to school and earn my PhD. I am now in a third year of a PhD program, studying function and organization of essential heterochromatic genes in the fruitfly. Many of these genes have been implicated in human disease, making this research very exciting for me.