CONTEST (EXTENSION): Design the Cover for SFU SURJ’S Second Issue!


Cover Contest Extension

It is an exciting time of year, as the publication of our second issue is appearing on the horizon! All of us at SFU SURJ are currently working with all the wonderful manuscripts we received this year as they go through peer review.

As we begin to assemble our SECOND issue, we are (once again) giving the community a chance to design our cover! We know there are many talented people out there, so please submit your designs to us! (Note: you do not need to be in the Faculty of Science to submit a design). Check out our Facebook Event page here !

Check out Last year’s submissions here !

There is a $50 prize for the winner!


  • Submissions should be science-related photography, art, or design.
  • 8.5″ by 11″ design (PDF)
  • Submissions should be sent to 
  • Don’t worry about formatting text onto your design, we will overlay the text afterwards
  • Deadline for submissions is SUNDAY MAY 14 2017 before 11:59PM

All submissions will be featured on our blog, following selection of the winning design.

The winning design will become the cover of our second issue, appearing in both the online publication and in all of the printed publications.


Send us an email:

Connect with us on Facebook @Simon Fraser University Science Undergraduate Research Journal



SFU Undergrad Researcher: Sandali Chandrarathna

Next up in our SFU undergrad researcher series, we have Sandali Chandrarathna!

Name: Sandali Chandrarathna
Faculty: Health Sciences
Year of Study: 5th
Supervisor: Dr. Zabrina BrummeSANDALI CHANDRARATHNA


Q: What is your research about?
A: Our lab researches the genetics and evolution of HIV-1 virus. I was lucky enough to get my own project, which is a cross sectional study of a cohort of early-infected patients from Toronto. I’m characterizing genetic and functional diversity as well as immune-driven evolution within individual infections and within the cohort as a whole. Specifically, I’m looking at an HIV-1 accessory gene called Nef which is known to play an important role in viral pathogenesis and infectivity in vivo.


Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: Funny enough, up until the fourth year of my Life Science degree in FHS, I never felt compelled to get involved in any lab research but, at the end of what I though to be my penultimate semester of undergrad, once the course started focusing more on primary literature, I started craving some practical experience. So I e-mailed a couple researchers at SFU whose research was in line with my interests and ended up applying for a USRA with Dr. Brumme. That was last summer. After that, I stayed on with the lab group as an Honours student, and will be defending my Thesis next month!


Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: *incoming cliché* I’ve always wanted to keep people from getting sick, and that hasn’t changed! The goal is to get an MD and practice in a community clinic. A lot of my experience outside of lab research is in health promotion and out in the community, so I see tremendous value in community-level interventions in improving health and well-being. I’d also really like to be involved at the policy level in some capacity…we’ll see what happens I guess!


Q: Favorite Course?
A: Hmm, I’d say it’s a toss up between Dr. Van Houten’s Seminar in Infectious Disease and the late Dr. Goldner’s course on Mental Illness in Canada. Both of those courses really resonated with and influenced me.


Q: What scares you the most in the lab?
I guess I should be expected to say HIV is the scariest thing in the lab but, because we take the necessary precautions with handling and storing infectious material, that’s not so much of a concern (although I was definitely wary when I started in the lab!). I think what scares me the most is the possibility of contamination. Contaminating your samples with other samples, with bacteria, contaminating your cell lines, your PCR reactions… no fun.

SFU Undergrad Researcher: Nathan Batke

For our next SFU undergraduate researcher profile, we have Nathan Batke who is performing research in the School of Engineering Science!

Name: Nathan Batke
Faculty: Applied Sciences
Year of Study: 2ndNATHAN BATKE
Supervisor: Andrea Ferrone


Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: I’m currently in the Engineering program, and last semester I was seeking my first Co-op job. Long story short, I applied to many positions and accepted this Research Co-op job that I am currently doing for SFU at Menrva Lab.
Q: What have you been working on in your research so far?
My position involves the Testing and Characterization of Smart Sensors. Basically, I am testing and documenting the various properties of these specific Smart Sensors. Also, I have been working on the lab’s “Linear Stage” system. This system can be seen in the picture, and is used for testing the Smart Sensors.
Q: What’s your favourite course that you have taken so far in your degree?
I would have to say Engineering Science 120 (Introduction to Laboratory Instruments) because it was one of the easiest courses that I have taken in the Engineering program so far – which meant I was able to get a really good mark. But also because the work was almost all hands-on circuitry. The focus was not really on learning theories, equations, and formulas – which was awesome. Also, regarding a different course, I thoroughly enjoyed the ENSC 252 Lab part of the class, even though it was quite frustrating at times.
Q: What is a typical “day in the life” in the lab for you?
For a typical day in the lab, I will mostly be working on the computer. I will do a good amount of programming in Arduino IDE, and also modifying our LabVIEW program so that the system we use is improved. Also, if requested by my supervisor, I would perform the required tests on a specific amount of Smart Sensors, and then document my work. And of course, I would be collaborating with my fellow co-workers and asking them for help if needed.
Q: What scares you the most in the lab or the field?
What scares me the most is the possibility of making a mistake when using circuitry or some type of electrical system. For example, the moment when you connect a power source to your circuit or system, and you get a spark or smoke… that’s no fun. Especially when something burns out and stops working.

SFU Undergrad Researcher: Vanessa Fussell

We at SFU SURJ are all about promoting undergraduate scientific research – that’s why we’re here! As this Spring semester ends and the start of USRA (Undergraduate Student Research Award) projects begin, we thought of no better way to appreciate the SFU undergrad scientific community than by featuring the brilliant ladies and gents doing research here at SFU this summer. For those of you hoping to do research yourselves one day, we especially hope these profiles inspire you to stake your own claim in the world of science!

For our first profile, we present:

Name: Vanessa Fussell
Faculty: Biology – Cells, Molecules, and Physiology Stream
Year of study: Third
Supervisor (PI): Harald Hutter
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: I was interested in both genetics and the nervous system. I approached my TA in my Developmental Biology Class who is a masters student in Harald Hutters Neural Development Genetics Lab.
Q: What have you been working on in your research so far?
A: Studying Axon Guidance Defects in nervous system developement seen in a strain of C.elegans with a mutation in the cadherin-4 gene and gene mapping fluorescent markers.
Q: What’s your favourite course that you have taken so far in your degree?
A: BISC405, Neurobiology with Gordon Rintoul
Q: What is a typical “day in the life” in the lab for you?
A: Analyzing samples under the fluorescent microscope (as seen in this picture), PCR, and running gels

Stealth aircraft: the silent hunter

By Joanna Pater

We all know what an airplane is supposed to look like. A body with wings and a tail attached… and a cockpit at the front. A child could tell you the same.

But Air Force engineers don’t agree. It just takes a single look at the F-35 or the F117 Nighthawk to see that our concept of aircraft has dramatically shifted from what it was during World War II. From jet engines capable of reaching speeds twice that of sound, to even unmanned drones, the aircraft industry continues to evolve.

Recently, an image on the internet caught my attention. It was a side-by-side comparison of the B2 Stealth bomber and a peregrine falcon.Joanna Pater_plane_photo.jpg

The similarity is striking. But despite its futuristic appearance, this technology is not new. The B2 Bomber is simply one of many tailless, stealth aircraft. In fact, some claim the inspiration for this design dates all the way back to the German prototype Horten 229 of the Second World War.Read More »