Elena Kuzmin

Postdoctoral Fellow
McGill University
Elena Kuzmin
Location Now
Education Pathway

Elena Kuzmin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Balkhash, Kazakhstan; Grew up - Toronto, Ontario

I now live in:  Montreal, Quebec

I completed my training/education at: Hon. B.Sc. (Human Biology/Zoology), M.Sc. (Lab. Medicine and Pathobiology), Ph.D (Molecular Genetics) all from the University of Toronto

What I do at work

I do primary research on how genetic mutations affect the onset and progression of cancer. I develop and perform experiments in the laboratory setting. I use computational analysis genetics tools such as CRISPR, gene over expression system, mammalian tissue culture, Western blot, and microscopy. Troubleshooting experiments when things don’t go as planned is a regular occurrence.  My understanding of science is key to success in the research I am doing.  I work well in a team setting on collaborative projects. I work mostly in English. Sometimes I speak Russian, if visiting scientists or lab members speak it.

My career path is

When I was in high school, I was deciding between being a teacher, an engineer or a medical doctor. I entered university and began an Honours Bachelor of Science. I studied Human Biology and Zoology. I continued my studies and completed a M.Sc. in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. From here, I continued with my studies and completed a PhD in Molecular Genetics. I did well in my M.Sc. and Ph.D. and decided to continue in research. I write and publish the results of my work in different scientific journals. I have done some teaching at the university level as guest lecturer and teaching assistant. Many of the scientists around me have been influential in my decisions. I’m still very early in my career. Doing primary research is difficult but coming up with explanations about how the cell works is rewarding.

I am motivated by

Understanding how a cancer genome is shaped is exciting. It is like being a detective!

How I affect people’s lives

Understanding how genetic mutations affect cancer onset and progression is interesting at a fundamental level. I hope that one day my research will be helpful to those individuals afflicted with the disease.

Outside of work I

I read, ski, and hike. I do poster judging and lab demonstrations for junior students. I also engage in peer review of scientific articles.

My advice to others

Study and engage in research to see how interested and good you are at it. This will help you decide to pursue it or not.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Math
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked reading
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

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