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Sadaf Valeh Sheida : Jacques-Landry Scholar 2023


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Here is the portrait of the recipient of the 2023 Jacques-Landry Scholarship, Sadaf Valeh Sheida, a doctoral student in cell and molecular biology in the team of Professor Jean-Yves Masson. This scholarship is made possible by the Cancer Research Center of Université Laval and the Cancer Fund of the Université Laval Foundation. 

What initially led Sadaf Valeh Sheida to study biology was curiosity. Her journey began in high school with an interest in discovering the unknown. She always wanted to know “why” things were the way they were particularly, what we cannot see with the naked eye! She ranked in the 1.5% of top students for the National Entrance University Exam and started a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology at Guilan University (Iran) and ranked 10 out of 55 students. Following her graduation, she worked at the International Sturgeon Research Institute as a researcher. Then she was selected for her master’s degree in Molecular Genetics program offered by one of the most prestigious graduate universities, Tarbiat Modares University (Iran). She joined the laboratory of Professor Seyed Javad Mowla at the Department of Biology, and she worked in the field of Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma. The main objective of her project was to evaluate the expression of a protein-coding and a non-coding RNA in 58 malignant EOC specimens fresh frozen tissues as a potential biomarker in Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma. During her master’s studies, she presented her research at numerous national and international conferences. Then her master's work was published in 2020 in the Journal of human antibodies and the European Journal of Medical Genetics. After her thesis defence, she continued her job as a research assistant and during this time she gained many noteworthy and life-changing experiences, one of which was attending the International Congress of Genetics (ESHG) in Italy.  

She then began a PhD position in cellular and molecular biology by joining the laboratory of Prof. Jean-Yves Masson at Université Laval to work on a DNA Double-strand break repair research project. The main objective of this project is to target DNA repairing pathways by our desired chemical compounds to overcome resistance and sensitise cancer cells to therapy. This allows her to prepare herself for her future role in implementing and teaching the science of Cancer biology, both in academic environments and clinical laboratory settings. Her passion for drugs that have the potential to cure cancer and her previous experiences allows her to acquire solid expertise and in-depth knowledge in cancer research, DNA repair pathways and cellular/molecular biology. Finally, she is also involved in many student activities, and she also was a member of the Executive Committee in “The Third International and 15th National Genetics Congress”, Tehran, Iran which shows her passion for scientific activities and demonstrates her commitment to the research environment.