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Side by side headshots, in order from left to right, of Denize, Dhruv, and Eric. A blue bar at the bottom has white text saying "2022 National Youreka Winners".

BHSc student team places first at the Youreka Canada 2022 National Symposium

Bachelor of Health Sciences students Denize D’Souza, Dhruv Patel, and Eric Sadiku placed first at both the Regional and National Symposiums of Youreka Canada 2022 this spring.

The group was required to choose a topic of interest and execute a 10-week research project as part of the Youreka curriculum. Through this program, they learned the fundamentals of scientific reasoning and experimental design required for developing a solid analysis of their research topic. The students focused on establishing the genetic basis for the metastatic potential of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. It was their responsibility to compose a manuscript and create a poster for presentation. Together with the Canadian Science Fair Journal, they will now have the opportunity to publish their manuscript.

Each year, Youreka Canada connects students to “engage in meaningful, self-directed research projects to contribute to positive advancements, both locally and globally.” Students learn important skills that will help them to become global leaders, “ready to tackle issues ranging from biomedicine to social issues to corporate finance.”

We asked Denize, Dhruv, and Eric how the Bachelor of Health Sciences program prepared them for this experience. Their answers are below.

Denize: The BHSc program has prepared me for the experience by demonstrating the power that students possess. It gives us the freedom to choose our own paths in life. It also has several outstanding mentors and professors who inspire students to pursue their life goals. This program has shown me the fantastic things we are capable of accomplishing, which prompted me to apply for Youreka!

Dhruv: There were actually a lot of different ways that the BHSc program helped prepare me for this competition. Many of the core courses I took over the past 2 years emphasized skills such as self-directed learning and collaboration, which were essential for completing and presenting this research project. As the length of the full research project is only 10 weeks, it really requires you to work effectively in a group and learn the scientific and statistical background knowledge for the project at your own pace. Having experience with this through BHSc really helped me to manage my time and support my group members as the project lead. Additionally, BHSc really taught me the importance of scientific inquiry and being curious about new topics as well as exploring my interests, which played a big role in choosing a research topic as complex as determining the genetic basis of metastasis in pancreatic cancer. Finally, I also learned the appropriate methodology for analysing existing scientific literature and conducting my own research through the BHSc program, which was essential to complete this project.

Eric: The Bachelor of Health Sciences program exposes us to and expands on our self-capabilities for learning on our own and building on prior knowledge and concepts. Through the program's flexible structure, we as students are exposed to many different streams within the realm of health sciences, where we have many opportunities to explore our interests. Through this program, I have been exposed to many real-world data sets and novel concepts, in which we are encouraged to use both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to build our understanding. This makes it the perfect program for current and future students who look to enter any field of research, as it gives you all the skills you need to be self-sufficient while also promoting the undeniable level of collaboration that comes with research and any profession in the future.