Spotlight on geekStarters: Chris Isaac

Chris Isaac – member of ULethbridge iGEM team and dedicated geekStarter mentor – shares tips for designing successful bioengineering projects at the Lab skills workshop held at University of Lethbridge in March 2017
10 Quick Questions for Chris

  1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

Something along the lines of a jack of all trades and a master of none: picking up the skills I need to know as I go.

  1. What do you love the most about your work/school?

Having recently begun my Master’s at the University of Lethbridge, I most enjoy the freedom associated with studying at a higher level. While you have objectives that need to be met in your research program, it’s also possible to enjoy the full support of faculty in pursuing additional academic projects even if they don’t perfectly align with your supervisor’s laboratory goals.

  1. What is your best accomplishment so far?

Most recently, I had the good fortune to collaborate with wonderful people on the Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM team while working on a fantastic project. As a result of our efforts, we were nominated for several awards at the international level. I’m very proud of our team and the part that I played in helping us to that success.

  1. What is something you are working towards right now?

There are always several irons in the fire, but there are two really cool things happening right now. The first is my academic research into picking apart disease pathways that are common to both Alzheimer Disease and Cancer. The second is a personal research project wherein I develop software to address biosecurity concerns in order to keep DNA synthesis and synthetic biology safe.

  1. How do you like to spend your downtime?

I really enjoy a subset of rock climbing called bouldering. It’s much closer to the ground, but the moves are generally much more interesting than roped climbing. In the summer it’s also a fantastic excuse to get outside!

  1. What is something you can’t imagine your life without?

I cannot imagine life without a free and open internet. The power that it provides for innovation, collaboration, research, and expression is not likely to be surpassed in the near future and is integral to every part of my life. The Internet is a utility that should be available for all.

  1. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you?

People might be surprised to learn that I know every word to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton”. And they’re certainly surprised when the singing begins.

  1. What is something you are afraid of?

Lately I’ve been concerned by the changing rhetoric surrounding science and its value in society and policy. Evidence-based decision-making should be the foundation of a good government that serves civic interests above corporate interests.

  1. What would you like your work to be ten years from now?

In ten years I would like to have solved the problem of predicting what my work will be in the future! We’ll see which way the wind blows, but I would love to be involved in as many cool projects as possible. Perhaps asteroid mining will be the next big thing. Stay tuned.

  1. What is one thing you appreciate about geekStarter?

I appreciate the mission of geekStarter, and the overarching goal to promote science literacy and excellence within our province. Alberta is a hotbed of talent and is uniquely positioned to be a scientific and economic leader within Canada and abroad. geekStarter helps build strong networks that allow for education, mentorship, and innovation within Alberta, within Canada, and with partners abroad.

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