SBC Alumni: Q&A with Krishna Modi

We are pleased to share another interview with a SBCC alumna, Krishna Modi, whose project with her three other partners won 5th place in the 2010 GTA regional competition when she was in grade 12. Krishna and her project partners were the first SBCC participants from their high school. Mentored by Dr. Yeger and Dr. Antoon at The Hospital for Sick Children, their project, ‘In vitro comparison on effects of curcumin, 6-gingerol, quercetin, kaempferol and catechin on pancreatic adenocarcinoma,’ assessed the effectiveness of combinations of dietary compounds as a treatment on pancreatic cancer cells.

Krishna shares her SBCC experience provides thoughtful encouragement to students who are interested in applying to the SBCC. Krishna’s perspective illustrates the possibilities that are offered by participating in the SBCC.

What are you doing now?

I am currently in my final year of my Biology undergraduate degree at York University. I will be attending medical school in the US starting summer 2014.

What motivated you to participate in the SBCC?

Simply put, I wanted to learn about biology outside of class. In high school biology, you just learn about all these really fascinating mechanisms and theories that allow for our body to work as it does.

However, my interest was particularly piqued when we were discussing famous studies that performed these experiments that resulted in the theories we accept today. I was motivated by the idea of participating in something bigger.

Describe what the competition process was like for you.

Thinking back, the entire SBCC competition seemed very foreign at that time. You get thrust into this advanced world reading primary journal articles and performing assays when a few months ago, you didn’t know about most of this information.

It often felt like we were in way over our heads because we were so young at that time. However, despite how crazy that year was, it was one of my most enlightening experiences. I got to learn so much about the biology field and dive into something much bigger than the classroom experience can ever give you. During the actual competition, I met so many talented individuals who also share the same enthusiasm as you in this field.

How has your participation helped you beyond high school?

My participation primarily made me certain that I did indeed want to study Biology. It also opened up doors for me to work at Sanofi for a summer. My experience at Sanofi was fantastic. I got to see so many professionals in the biotechnology field at work, and got to network with some really great people.

I worked in the Manufacturing Technology department on several different projects to improve vaccine manufacturing. In doing so, I did a lot of research, prepared protocols, reports, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and performed lab work. However, most importantly, my participation in the SBCC developed a lot of core skills in research, presentation, networking and communication that are immeasurable in their value.

Describe your favourite aspect of participating in the SBCC.

My favourite aspect of participating in SBCC is how much my own world grew as a result of it. I learned so much about the real world outside the classroom and the numerous opportunities out there.

What advice do you have for this year’s participants?

You did not sign up for something easy. However, stick with it, and you will be rewarded for your hard work. It’s difficult, but you will grow as a result of it in a way like no other.