Student Name: Maria Tereshchenko
Supervisor: Dr. Haley Wyatt, Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Mechanisms of Genome Instability, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto.
Maria graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction in the spring of 2018. She achieved academic excellence throughout the course of her undergraduate studies, earning her numerous awards, including the University of Toronto Scholars Program, the University of Toronto Dean’s List, and multiple in-course awards from Victoria College.
Maria has been actively involved in research since 2015 when she generated Drosophila models of Parkinson’s disease under the supervision of Dr. Angus McQuibban. She went on to perform the preliminary phenotypic analyses of Drosophila models to validate their use for therapeutic molecule testing. Soon thereafter, Maria began a second project under the supervision of Dr. Suneil Kalia, where she established and validated a cell-based model for analyzing the effects of a co-chaperone protein on mitochondrial clearance in Parkinson’s disease. Backed by the momentum of these exciting research experiences, Maria joined the lab of Dr. Grant Brown, where she sought to identify proteins that regulate DNA repair, an essential cellular process that protects us against diseases like cancer. In 2017, Maria received a DAAD Research Internship in Science and Engineering to study at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Her research, which was recently published in the reputable journal Human Molecular Genetics, provided essential insight into how cells remove the protein aggregates that are typically observed in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients. Maria has since returned to the fields of DNA repair and genome stability and is working under the supervision of Dr. Haley Wyatt. She is currently scrutinizing the mechanisms that cells employ to regulate the activity of DNA nucleases. Maria’s research has received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
Outside the lab, Maria has been involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities over the course of her undergraduate studies. As a peer mentor for the First-Year Learning Communities program, Maria facilitated the high school-to-university transition for numerous first-year students, and provided training and guidance to other peer mentors in the program. In addition, for the past three years Maria has served as co-president the Neurodegenerative Disease Society of Toronto, where she spearheaded the organization of outreach events and an annual research conference. Maria has also continued her dance training as a member and co-president of the Victoria College Dance Team (Vic Dance). Maria’s extracurricular, academic, and research achievements have earned her the GLSE Undergraduate Student Leadership Award.
Maria will be entering the University of Toronto Biochemistry graduate program in the fall of 2018, where she hopes to pursue a PhD in the field of DNA repair and continue her studies of the molecular mechanisms of genome instability diseases and cancer.