SFU Undergrad Researcher: James Marquis

Next up in our series of brilliant SFU undergrads, we have James Marquis of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry!

Name: James Marquis
Major: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Year of Study: 4th
Supervisor (PI): Dr. Dipankar Sen


Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I always want to become a biochemist and an innovator who develops better products for not only scientists but also the general public.

Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: I was randomly browsing the SFU biology web page back in my first year here. I saw an advertisement for a research position to analyze avian blood sample. I was just curious what they are doing with bird blood, so I applied and got in. Then I have been working in different labs in both biology and MBB since then.

Q: What will you be working on this summer?
A: I will be writing a research proposal for a master project that develops new DNA aptamer that catalyze the ruthenium-catalyzed olefin metathesis. It is simply to screen for potential catalytic DNA that can facilitate large-sized ring closing reaction.

Q: What have you been working on in your research so far? (What is your research about?)
A: My first lab project was about quantifying red blood cells precursor in avian blood to predict the bird’s oxygen carrying capacity. Then I moved on to a side project that looked that the effect of male bird social behaviour (singing) on female birds breeding phenology and performance. Then I switched to a genetic/developmental biology lab to work on the Wnt/Wingless signaling in Drosophila (fruit flies) in my third year. Right now I am preparing to start my master degree studying the catalytic activity of DNA/RNA.

Q: What is a typical “day in the life” in the lab for you?
A: I’m usually in the lab around 9am doing lab work till 5pm in the evening, nothing exciting.

Q: What’s your favourite course that you have taken so far in your degree?
A: I would the special topic course (MBB420) taught by Dr. Sen / Dr. Hawkins

Q: If you were a scientific lab instrument, which one would you be?
A: I would be a pipet, because I am a sucker for science.

Q: Who is your biggest science crush?
A: Dr. Peter Schultz. I was very privileged to meet him in person at a conference and he really inspired me to pursue my interest in the biochemistry field.

Q: What’s the funniest thing in the lab that’s happened to you?
A: We dressed up as Christmas trees and worked in the lab during the holiday season one winter, and it was quite funny and memorable.

Q: What scares you the most in the lab or the field?
A: Getting no data from my experiments


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