Ayni Sharif

Ayni SharifAyni Shariff Home Insitute: University of Ottawa
Supervisor: Leah Cowen

Ayni Sharif is 21-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa where she studies Honours in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in languages and cultures. She has obtained numerous prestigious research scholarships both at her home university and internationally. Her internships have led her as far as Shanghai, China to conduct neuroscience research. Having partaken in different areas of research from chemistry to cancer research, Ayni's particular interests now center on epidemiology with a focus in infectious diseases. She also enjoys volunteering anyway she can and has recently gone abroad to help out in the disadvantaged communities of India as a health care assistant, teacher, and friend. She is also a part time tutor in local shelters and comforts patients at The Ottawa Hospital. Her hobbies include writing in her free time and being active, which often times translates in getting lost on an adventurous hike.

I look most forward to gaining both new theoretical knowledge as well as hands on laboratory skills in Professor Leah Cowen’s lab. Professor Cowen’s research has a clear mix of biochemistry with the involvement of investigating infectious diseases, how they occur, and potentially developing strategies to prevent them. Having a strong chemical research background, I would have a good understand of the research being done on the chemical side. Therefore, it would be interesting to get a biological side added to my knowledge along with it tying in well with my undergraduate studies in the biomedical field. Having the two areas go hand in hand will compliment well with my background and aspirations in research, which I am most looking forward to experiencing. On top of that, I eagerly look forward to meeting the entire lab and working with them closely!

Amgen Scholars Program is such a unique opportunity because of the exposure of research it will put me through on top of it being in state of the art research laboratories. Research in infectious disease in particular has been something I wanted to dive into as a career and this program will allow me to experience that first hand. Nearing the end of my undergraduate studies, it would be perfect to experience of the kind of research I plan to do in the future now. Not only will the Amgen Scholar Program allow me conduct research related to my studies and potential career path, it will also allow me to get familiar with the university setting since it is where I hope to set out the rest of my educational studies. Conducting research in the infection/immunity research area available through this program will strength my decision and dedication with going through and attaining a PhD or MD/PhD in infectious disease. Along with the fact that the program is happening at the university I have dreamt of going to for my graduate and professional studies is ideal. Getting a taste of the whole experience before committing to it will ensure myself that I am pursuing a career right for me.