SFU Undergraduate Researcher: Yiqiu Yang

Name: Yiqiu Yang
Major: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Year: Third year
Supervisor: Dr. Ralph Pantophlet

Q: What kind of research do you do?
A: I have been doing antibody purification for evaluating the binding of neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein mimic, which is a part of HIV vaccine design.

Q: How did you get involved in this opportunity?
A: I took a Biological Research course, and my professor Dr. Lam provided us with a website with projects currently available in SFU research labs. I found Dr. Pantophlet’s project very interesting and I emailed him my resume and transcript. Dr. Pantophlet replied very quickly and informed me that there were no openings. However, a few days later there was an unexpected position that opened up. Thus, I went to the interview (which was more like a chat) and got the opportunity. How lucky I was!

Q: What is a typical “day in the life” in the lab for you?
A: It is usually about preparation for SPR which involves concentration of cell culture supernatant, antibody purification, and assessment of antibody by SDS-PAGE and ELISA. I also update lab inventory and make buffers for general use.

Q: Favourite science joke or meme from your field?
A: If it’s green or it wiggles, it’s biology. If it stinks, it’s chemistry. If it doesn’t work, it’s physics.

Q: If you were a scientific lab instrument, which one would you be?
A: A +4 degrees Celsius lab fridge because I would stay cool but not be cold, and I could store lots of valuable stuff!

Q: What scares you the most in the lab or the field?
A: A low concentration or bad purity of the antibody because it means we cannot use it to perform any test and need to start all over again.