Lauren Ostrowski

Ph.D. Candidate
University of Toronto
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway
School Subject

Lauren Ostrowski is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto.

Outside of work I

Outside of work I enjoy going to concerts, trying new restaurants in Toronto (there are so many to choose from!), cosplaying and snowboarding.

Outside of work I
My career path is

When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to work in STEM, but wasn't sure exactly which field. Growing up I enjoyed watching TV shows like CSI, and developed an interest in Forensic Science. I ended up doing my Bachelor's degree in Forensic Science at Trent University. During my fourth year, I met a professor who recognized my potential for research and offered me a position as a Master's student in his lab. I had never thought of a career in research, but decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did! I completed my Master's in Cell Biology and Genetics with this professor, and loved it so much I continued onto a Ph.D. in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, which is where I am now. If it wasn't for this professor recognizing my potential, I don't know if I would have found my calling.

My career path is
My advice to others

Find a good mentor and learn everything you can from them! If you follow your true passion, you'll never have to "work" a day in your life because you'll love what you do!

My advice to others

About me

I was born/grew up in: Toronto Ontario, Canada

I now live in: Toronto Ontario, Canada

I completed my training/education at: Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, M.Sc. at Trent University, B.Sc. at Trent University

About me

I am motivated by

One of the best parts of my job is that I am motivated by success as well as failure. When an experiment works, I get excited and cannot wait to delve into more experiments to explain that finding. When an experiment fails (and believe me - it's often!), it can be upsetting, but this soon turns into an intense drive to get it right next time.

The most interesting aspect of my career is that my research direction is constantly changing. We might have one hypothesis, but then discover something completely unrelated and then go after that instead. It's a very dynamic field!

One of the most enjoyable/rewarding parts of my job is the fact that my research is helping us understand basic cell biology, and how certain processes, when they are not properly regulated, can cause disease. Not only am I learning about how things work in a cell, my research also helps us understand, and hopefully prevent disease.

I am motivated by
How I affect people's livesMy career is fulfilling because I am conducting research that is directly benefiting human health. My research helps identify the molecular cause(s) of disease. This helps us create prevention/treatment plans. My work is also relevant on a more basic science level, as it sheds light on basic cellular processes and how they function!
How I affect people's lives
What I do at work

Most of my time is spent working in the lab. I have several experiments that I'm working on at a time, and I chip away at each throughout the week. I also do a lot of reading to keep my knowledge of the field up to date.

In the lab, I use a lot of really cool molecular biology equipment such as pipettes, centrifuges, thermocyclers, incubators etc. Most of our equipment is very expensive, so we all receive proper training before working in the lab. We work as part of a team, which includes our supervisor, a lab tech and several graduate/undergraduate students. Undergrads are paired with a grad student, which is a great mentoring opportunity for both parties.

If you enjoy problem solving and science, a career in research is a great fit. In our projects, we are constantly faced with scientific problems that need to be solved. We might conduct an experiment and make an interesting finding. This then raises several questions which we must design experiments to try and answer. The ability to think critically and solve problems is one of the most important skills to have when working in STEM.

What I do at work
When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Computer Science
  • Math
  • Music
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Played video games
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Always knew exactly what I wanted to do

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