This year, the Li lab was proud to have three graduate students represent them at McMaster’s 3-minute thesis competition. On February 11th, Sepehr, Dingran and Rachel all presented their research to a non-specialist audience in less than three minutes. These three students made up three quarters of those representing the Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Department. Although none of them made it to the finals, they found it an interesting and engaging experience.
The holiday season was busy time for the lab. As snow piled up outside, the Li lab decided to spice up the winter with the perfect combination of mystery and excitement – a Secret Santa party! Although Dr.Li offered to give the best gift of all time (designing a figure for any upcoming journal publication) unfortunately he was not able to attend the party due to a conference in Singapore. As the Li lab spends a lot of time with each other in the lab on daily basis, we saw each others’ inner playfulness reflected in our gifts. Kha received a colour-changing mug from Jim in which showed a molecular beacon figure when containing hot water.Some of us received mini Lego sets, stuffed animals and even a kitten book for bed time. Most of people did a great job disguising themselves and really made it challenging to guess the identity of their secret Santas. The party ended in everyone’s laughter and a group photo. We thank Dora and Qian for their enthusiasm to organize and host the event and we hope all our readers enjoyed a great holiday and a Christmas full of laughter!
I represented the Li Lab at Spectrum’s Pitch Competition this past Monday evening. After presenting our innovative colour-based assay for heavy metals, I was selected as one of the 12 finalists out of 40 groups that presented. The finals is this Monday November 24th, at 6 to 8pm at TwelvEighty in McMaster University. There are prizes for up-to 2500 dollars for the winners of the competition. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Myself and everyone at the Li Lab hope to see you there.
Members of the Urease Group from the Li Lab attended this year’s Innovation Showcase this past Wednesday. In addition to a keynote address, technology presentations, and round-table discussions, there was a poster presentation competition in which the Li lab displayed two posters.
Throughout the day, the audience showed tremendous enthusiasm towards our projects, and provided some valued feedback that will guide our future directions. The audience’s fascination in our projects eventually attracted the reporters at the event, leading to both Sepehr and Qian being interviewed by multiple news networks about their respective projects, including CHCH news and Ignite news.
Sepehr’s poster presentation, put together with the help of Dingran, Kha, and Qian, was selected as one of the finalists out of the 50 presenters at the event.
In the finals, Sepehr presented a captivating 2-minute pitch, describing the kit we’ve developed for the color-based detection of heavy metal toxins. After judges convened, we were selected as the runner-up for the commercialization-ready category.
Following success at this event, we will be presenting at similar competitions in the near future. Come see our next presentation at the Spectrum Standup Pitch Competition November 24th.
It is a Li lab tradition to attend the Halloween costume and pumpkin carving competition hosted by the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University every year. This year, Rachel organized a movie night for The LEGO Movie, which inspired the Li lab to dress as Lego characters for the event. In order to create winning outfits, everyone from the Li lab was eager to show off their artistic side and really demonstrated just how many ways in which cardboard boxes, Bristol board, tin foil and paint could be manipulated. In the end, 12 characters from the movie were made, and the Li lab took home 1st place for best costume and 2nd place for best pumpkin. It was awesome!
– Dora H
This week in the Li Lab, several members of the lab participated in the Wellwood Walk/Run for Colorectal Cancer on October 19th. Dingran, Kha, Qian, Rachel, and Dr. Li himself all ran an invigorating 10 km race, both beginning and finishing at McMaster’s Student Centre. Several members took home medals for finishing in the top three in their gender and age category; Kha finished first, and Dingran and Dr. Li both received second-place medals. In addition, these lab members supported another friendly face – CMCB’s Fazmin Nizam – who finished an impressive second overall! Congratulations to all involved for a race well run. Next year, they challenge ALL of the lab members to participate!
This week in the Li Lab, Dr. Li and his family (along with their adorable dogs Yoyo and Teddy, and Mimi the cat) hosted a BBQ/potluck at their house to kickstart the Thanksgiving weekend. As the chef of the night, Braedon cooked up some very delicious burgers and hotdogs. Amjad provided a tasty homemade Lebanese dessert and as always, Rachel’s chip dip was a favorite at the party. It was a wonderful night full of fun, delicious food, and some drinks of course! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Thesis work in the Li Lab is a unique experience for a McMaster Life Science Student. The Biochemistry aspect of my work in the Li Lab brings a new dimension to the interdisciplinary curriculum of the Life Sciences program. I am extremely excited to begin my work and look forward this positive learning experience.
I am excited to complete my third year thesis in continuing Rachel’s project on the evolution of a deoxribozyme! By decreasing selection incubation time and thus increasing selective pressure in rounds of in vitro selection, we hope to optimize its ribonucleic acid-cleaving catalytic ability.
I’m very happy that I could get the Karl Freeman Prize. I’m quite lucky. Li lab members gave me a lot of help and support. Thanks Guys. Hope next year, some of you can also get it. I know you can do it, Rachel. To speak good English, I still have a long way to go (bacon, beacon, I know how to pronounce them now). Please correct me if I mispronounce something. I will appreciate it.