A day in the life
Angela Daurie talks about fourth year
The profs discuss your interests and tailor your honours project to that. It’s about participating in the process: how to start a project, and how to follow through. And you learn how to convey your ideas orally—that’s a huge part of science.
Looking ahead to a life in research
“At the beginning of my degree, I had no idea what I’d end up doing,” says Angela Daurie, now in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Combined Honours in Microbiology and Immunology and Biology. “At first I was set on doing only the prerequisites for the Pharmacy program, but my academic advisor said to try Microbiology. And I loved it—the lab work is so much fun.”
Since then, she’s had plenty of opportunities to don a lab coat and get to work—many of which were through the Science Co-op program. “I’m glad I chose co-op,” Angela smiles. “I discovered I enjoy research enough that I want to go to grad school, and it’s given me ideas for my research focus once I’m there. And all my supervisors enjoyed having me work for them, so I can ask for references.”
Two of Angela’s co-op work terms were in Dr. John Rohde’s lab, where she’s also working on her honours thesis. Her project, while providing another opportunity to apply her knowledge, is contributing to Dr. Rohde’s research with Shigella flexneri, a bacterium that causes dysentery and other gastroenteric illnesses.
“We’re trying to develop an animal model for Shigella, which is a human-only pathogen,” Angela explains. “We want a better understanding of how the infection progresses. Right now, we don’t understand the full immune response.”
Angela is planning to apply to graduate programs in microbiology. “If I’m accepted at Dal, I’ll continue working with Dr. Rohde,” she says. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. The other people in the lab are great, and Dr. Rohde is a great supervisor—he’s very helpful and always available for questions.”
The idea that she might someday help people through this research is part of the appeal. “I don’t expect a vaccine to be developed while in I’m grad school,” she says. “You have to understand a disease really well before that happens. But to contribute to it would be a cool thing. And it’s just really interesting.”