By Yoos, Cam on July 20, 2020.
Being involved with research as an undergraduate student at the University of Lethbridge helped confirm the interest in medical school for both Harshil Patel and Kamiko Bressler, as both found their participation in research helped them refine their career goals.
While Patel completed his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Calgary this spring, Bressler begins her coursework online at the U of C’s Cumming School of Medicine this month. As undergrads, they worked on research with Nehal Thankor’s lab in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.
“I knew I wanted to do something involving science and I always thought it would be really interesting to be in a health-care field, but research really helped me figure our definitely that I want to pursue medicine,” says Bressler.
“Getting to participate in research really gives you hands-on experience that I think is so unique to U of L. You’re able to see how research you’re doing in the lab can actually make a difference, how it might one day progress to actually helping people in the real world.”
While Bressler is using the skills she developed through research projects to improve and expand her educational path, Patal is using the skills gained at the University of Lethbridge to help him in his own future research projects.
“If I choose to do a research-based practice, where I could be a researcher and a clinician, having those skills and that early exposure at the University of Lethbridge will help me set up any research projects that I want to do in the future,” says Patel.
“It was great to understand the entire procedure of what happens behind the scenes. A lot of it was learning how to be a little bit of a manager and figuring out what the day-to-day procedures are for running a lab, understanding the processes of how we get our products, chemicals and reagents to how we contact other labs for protocols, troubleshooting and sharing results.”
Along with lab techniques, Bressler says she learned how research works and contributes to science as well as other skills, like how to communicate and collaborate with others.
“In our lab in particular, there were undergrads working with grad students and our supervisor, Nehal, was always so excellent,” says Bressler. “He would help us in the lab, hands-on all the time, and we’d work with other labs and even other schools. It was really neat to see all that come together to form an idea.”
Patel, a graduate of Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, was accepted into the U of C’s medical school and he is set to begin his residency this summer. Bressler, originally from Medicine Hat, has been working in the Registrar’s Office at the U of L since completing her master’s. In addition to her online coursework, she plans to move to Calgary in August to be ready for the possibility of more in-person work beginning in September.
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