My name is Jingjing Wang and I worked as a Plant Pathology and Cereal Breeding Assistant at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Brandon Research center for my summer Co-op term. I was assigned to a project looking for barley strains with resistant genes using RT-PCR data. During my work term, I received training in WHMIS, DNA extraction, operating RT-PCR instrumentation and lab sterilization practices.
My daily work was to perform DNA extractions of various barleys and to screen the resulting genetic material by running it through the RT-PCR. Subsequently, I organized the results and made a conclusion for each run.
Jingjing at work.
In addition to working in the lab, I also did field work. This meant that I had a really good combination of theoretical and practical experience, which gave me a better understanding of my work in the molecular lab. At the research center, I not only picked up technical skills, but also professional skills. I learned how to work with my group efficiently and how to map out tasks.
All in all, the Brandon Research Station is a really nice place to work. I am thankful to all the Chemical and Biosciences Technology instructors at Red River College for helping me learn the skills I needed to get this position.
My name is Rachel Molloy and I was lucky enough to get a Summer Student Co-Op position at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory.
The main objective for this position is to perform biological inventories of enteric bacterial pathogens that are considered level two pathogens. The lab I work in is accredited to ISO 17025. While performing my everyday duties I have been able to exercise and refine my skills in the areas of laboratory notebook keeping, standard operating procedures, GLP’s, MSDS’s, PSDS’s, Microsoft Office and general organization.
Rachel at work (photo property of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory)
I am also receiving training in a variety of laboratory techniques that are used to do basic surveillance and for outbreak investigations, including molecular and genetic methods plus classical microbiology and tissue culture.
There are also many other services available at the National Microbiology Laboratory that I have taken full advantage of when I am not hard at work. There is a library on site with tons of science related literature and lots of seminars available on the science of infectious diseases (I attended one recently about the role of proteomics in HIV research).
The staff here are friendly and educated. I participate in my unit’s weekly meetings and have found the whole experience to be very welcoming.
I am grateful for those at the National Microbiology Laboratory for the wonderful experiences that I continue to have, and for Red River College for providing me the chance to have those experiences.