PhD candidate Nika Shakiba (EngSci 1T0) has been named a recipient of a 2016 Jennifer Dorrington Graduate Research Award. Issued by the University of Toronto Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR), the award recognizes graduate-level research excellence and contributions to their field.
As a member of Professor Peter Zandstra’s Stem Cell Bioengineering lab, Shakiba’s research focuses on gaining a better understanding of stem cells. Specifically, she utilizes cell biology and mathematical modelling techniques to investigate the pathways behind their reprogramming to better predict how any given adult cell might turn into stem cells.
“The technique to make genetically-identical and patient-specific stem cells has been available for years, but the reprogramming process takes weeks and is not well understood,” says Shakiba. “The purpose of my work is to obtain useful data in order to improve the accuracy and speed of stem cell production for clinical use.”