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Alex Briede

SFU Co-op Alumni
Science › Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

people walking across the AQ during graduation
Just that I sometimes think that people are perhaps a little too focused on completing their degrees in a certain, often as quick as possible, time frame, which often prevents them from gaining some truly invaluable experiences that are greatly facilitated by the Co-op program.

What faculty are you a part of? What degree will you be getting when you convocate in June?

I’m a member of the Molec. Bio. and Biochem. (MBB) faculty at SFU, and will be graduating in June with a BSc and co-op (accreditation).

How many Co-op terms did you complete?

I did a total of 5 full-time Co-op terms.

Briefly tell us about each Co-op work term you completed and what was the best part about each one?

Terms 1 through 3 were in Dr. Edgar Young’s lab at SFU. As a member of the Young lab I was fortunate enough to work on two projects. One project involved site-directed mutagenesis of a chimeric/hybrid ion channel (HCN/"pacemaker" channel) and subsequent analysis of its properties using electrophysiological methods. The other project consisted of the creation of a chimeric/hybrid ion channel and studying its properties, also by means of electrophysiological techniques.

Terms 4 and 5 were at Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc. While there, I performed research involving the assessment of the synergy (effectiveness) of drug combinations (various ratios of different chemotherapeutic agents) for cancer treatment and was also involved with development of protocol for the assessment of cellular constituent activation as a result of drug administration.

Would you recommend the Co-op program to students who are new to SFU or are unfamiliar with the program? If yes, please tell us why.

Definitely. There are just so many possibilities that are greatly facilitated through this program, no matter what your focus may be. For anyone desiring a variety of exposure, it is invaluable and can be great in helping to shape one’s path, both academically and professionally.

Do you feel that participating in the Co-op program has given you a competitive advantage over others graduating without Co-op experience?

Without a doubt. Not only was I able to learn some really great technical skills, but more importantly I was able to make some very important contacts. Furthermore, you are assisted by co-op in learning ways of better presenting yourself to a variety of different corporate and/or academic entities.

For you, what was the most valuable benefit from participating in the Co-op program as a whole?

I believe it was the various contacts made that was the most valuable benefit. Perhaps a cliché response; it’s nonetheless very accurate/true.

What were some of the most memorable experiences from your time at SFU and as a part of Co-op?

Some of the amazing research that goes on in both of my placements (i.e. Dr. Young’s lab and Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc.). It’s really amazing to witness the creative approach that researchers take to a variety of questions.

Do you feel that you’ve been able to apply your knowledge from the classroom to your Co-op work experiences?

Knowledge from the classroom was definitely of benefit when working on some of the projects I was involved with.

What are your plans for the future? Ie: grad school, traveling, volunteer work, career advancement?

I’m currently with the BC Cancer Agency at the Vancouver Center, where I am a Clinical Trials Research Assistant in the Radiation Oncology Dept. (a job that co-op helped me find!) Currently, I’ve no definite long-term career goals; I’m more interested in seeing what might arise and going from there (i.e. I’m open to opportunity). Grad school might be one avenue as well…

Anything else to add?

Just that I sometimes think that people are perhaps a little too focused on completing their degrees in a certain, often as quick as possible, time frame, which often prevents them from gaining some truly invaluable experiences that are greatly facilitated by the Co-op program.

About the Author

Alex Briede

SFU Co-op Alumni
Science › Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
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