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CWSF 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario

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Peering down curiously through the smooth eyepiece of my microscope six years ago in science class, I eagerly magnified the objective lens ever so slightly for a clear viewpoint, and in that moment, I experienced my first of many biological thrills. Before me was an amorphous jelly-like figure known to man as the amoeba. Since that pivotal moment, I became fascinated with biology and medicine. Post grade eleven biology and chemistry, I wanted to engage in the scientific field beyond the classroom. I emailed more than fifty scientists for a laboratory position and am now working at Dr. Mahadevan’s Laboratory at the UofT. I learn complex topics and laboratory technique such as how to edit the nucleotides in a repressor protein and fuse it to a light-sensitive domain as I am building an optogenetic or light-sensitive genetic toggle switch. I’ve always been drawn to novel ways we can combat cancer, which inspired me to develop a unique cancer drug delivery application to my project. In the future, I plan to take my project to further heights by co-culturing the bacteria containing my switch with mammalian cancer cells to clinically observe the effect of my drug delivery system.

Vikita Mehta

A Novel Optogenetic Toggle Switch for Targeted Anticancer Drug Delivery
City:King City, ON
School:University of Toronto Schools
Abstract:Can we use light to edit genes? The goal of my project is to build and optimize a light-sensitive genetic sequence and test its performance, as well as explore the applications of this genetic tool: targeted cancer drug delivery to solid tumours, preventing the escape of dangerous bacteria from bioreactors, and noninvasive gene editing turning body cells into stem cells.

Awards Value
Excellence Award - Senior
Bronze Medal
Sponsor: Youth Science Canada
Carleton University Entrance Award
Senior Bronze Medallist - $1,000 Entrance Award
Sponsor: Carleton University
$1 000.00
University of Ottawa Entrance Scholarship
Senior Bronze Medallist - $1000 Entrance Scholarship
Sponsor: University of Ottawa
$1 000.00
Western University Scholarship
Bronze Medallist - $1000 Entrance Scholarship
Sponsor: Western University
$1 000.00
Total$3 000.00