Tak Landry, '21 MSc

Student: Tak Landry, MSc
Program: M.Sc.
Supervisors: Sujata Persad

What is your background and what led you to graduate studies in the Department of Pediatrics at the U of A?

I completed my bachelor of science specializing in immunology and infectious diseases in 2018 at the University of Alberta. My curiosity for the unknown and interest in lab-based science led me to pursue a master'’'s in the Department of Pediatrics.

Tell us a little bit about your research.

My research looked at the active form of beta-catenin (𝛽-catenin), a protein that contributes to cell development under normal physiological conditions, and how it affects bone cancer. We took bone cancer cells and increased the amount of the active form of 𝛽-catenin in them to see if it would make them more invasive. If the cancer is more invasive, it makes it much more dangerous. We used multiple experiments to show that when the cell lines have an increased level of active 𝛽-catenin they would show that they were more invasive.

How did the Department of Pediatrics prepare you for the next step in your career?

I've enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about what I love to learn about. The mandatory professional development gave me the opportunity to interact with new people from varying backgrounds and learn and refine my skills. I am now prepared to face the world and all of its challenges confidently.

Were there challenges or things that were harder than you imagined?

The most difficult aspect that I was not expecting was how often experiments would fail. Spending days preparing for these experiments to not work was not only frustrating but demoralizing. Being relatively used to success, facing this challenge allowed me to learn and hone my adaptability skill set.

Do you have any tips for new graduate students just beginning here or those who are nearly completed?

Start your thesis early! If there is one thing I learned towards the end of my degree, it was to start writing your introduction early, start preparing your materials and methods and have a very detailed and organized method for your results. Going back to look for results from one and a half years prior and not knowing where they are on your computer or in the lab can be very frustrating, especially towards the end.

What will you miss about your time here?

The Women and Children'’'s Health Research Institute organized events ranging from Easter egg hunts to Christmas door decorations. I will definitely miss the people the most.

Where are you headed next?

I will be doing an after-degree program through the Faculty of Education to become a teacher. In the meantime, before my degree starts, I will be enjoying my time off and doing the activities and hobbies that I love.