Choosing Genetics

Photo: Courtesy – Gabriel Sari

Genetic research is on the cutting edge of health care, and is destined to become a remarkable tool to improve our lives. That is what Saint-Laurent’s Gabriel Sari thinks after seeing his mother battling cancer.  He is now taking part of the Gene Researcher for a Week (GRFAW) program that brings a new generation of researchers into this revolutionary medical arena.

The Marianopolis College student counts himself lucky to have been chosen for the program. He believes that the research being done will lead to unimagined breakthroughs in patient treatment.

« I feel that the study of genetics has great potential in changing the future in how we diagnose, treat, cure and prevent disease. With technology improving, we will be able to offer personal and effective treatments based on a patient’s unique genetic makeup.  It is very promising, » he explains.

Sari was motivated watching his mother fight leukemia. Seeing her frail and sick as she went through chemotherapy played on his mind. Though she recovered, he questioned why people could be subjected to such terrible illnesses and why the medical industry has not yet found better solutions to diseases afflicting them.

His enthusiasm for the program has led him to become a GRFAW ambassador. « If we are going to cure diseases in the future we need to inspire young scientist now and hopefully peak their interest in genetics, » he says.

The ambassadors are trained to present information about the GRFAW program to schools, science clubs and at events that target students who are interested in genetics after high school.

A week of wonder

The program was created in association with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to nurture the growth of genetic clinician-scientists by recruiting high school and Cegep students across Canada.

Every year, 50 young researchers are given the opportunity to learn how genes cause disorders, and how Canadian scientists use these findings to develop treatments and cures for genetic diseases. This workshop occurs over the spring break at one of over 40 institutions that are part of the GRFAW network.

Genetics is a growing field and the leading institutions are always on the lookout for talented researchers who can be groomed early.  Gabriel Sari spent his week at the Institut de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie at Laval University in Quebec. As he is continuing his studies in Health Sciences, he is the GRFAW Ambassador Program National Chair-CIHR-IG.

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