SIMON Fraser University student Jasleen Grewal is Harvard-bound this summer after landing an internship to Harvard’s prestigious Stem Cell Institute.
The third-year student is one of 35 students to secure a placement in one of the numerous hospitals and schools with which the institute collaborates. She leaves June 2.
During her internship, Grewal will help conduct research at the Harvard School of Public Health under Dr. Winston Hide, who has been involved in the development of a stem-cell commons repository to share experimental data between various Harvard labs. She will help Hide develop systems for analyzing genomic data.
Grewal is studying in a joint program in computing science and molecular biology and biochemistry at SFU. The program prepares students for a career in the emerging field of bioinformatics, which uses computational tools to process and analyze biological and genetic data.
The honors student, who maintains a 4.12 grade-point-average, hopes to complete a PhD and become a bioinformatician.
The internship covers housing and travel costs and provides a small stipend for expenses. Most interns are chosen from Harvard itself, but a small number come from national and international institutions.
Innately inquisitive, Grewal left India with the blessing of her teacher parents at the end of Grade 10 to complete her high school education in Vancouver, where she stayed with relatives. While at SFU she has immersed herself in undergraduate life and advises students to be intellectual explorers because “you never know when you’re going to find something you’re passionate about.”
Adds Grewal: “I will definitely want to one day go back and take on a leadership role in research in India, to bring the expertise and foresight I admire in my mentors here in Vancouver, to my homeland.
“In the true spirit of a scientific temperament, to be constantly learning and using that knowledge to help others across the board, it will be really gratifying for me personally if my training and hard work ultimately helps me give back to communities both here and in India.”