Meet Shaghayegh — A nomadic traveller and a rising star in the world of prostate cancer research.
Q: What is your role in health research?
A: I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, working under the mentorship of Dr. Amina Zoubeidi. I am conducting research to understand how prostate cancer patients develop resistance to modern anti-androgen therapies.
Q: What is your research area of interest, and what led you to that interest?
A: My research journey began with a co-op at Vancouver Prostate Centre, where I was introduced to the world of prostate cancer. From there, I delved deeper into the role of epigenetics in the development of treatment-resistant prostate cancer. Specifically, I am interested in the interplay between metabolic and epigenetic factors contributing to the development of treatment-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer, a lethal form of the disease.
Q: What is the best part about your research job?
A: The most exciting aspect of my job is the investigative process. Similar to solving a mystery or assembling a complex puzzle, piecing together bits of information to uncover new knowledge is both daunting and exhilarating.
Q: What does your average day at work look like?
A: Each day is unique with a diverse mix of tasks and responsibilities. My time is devoted to wet lab experiments and data analysis using computational biology to gain insight into the intricate challenge of treatment resistance. I also write manuscripts and grants, mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and brainstorm for potential future projects.
Q: What is one of the biggest accomplishments of your career so far?
A: One of my proudest moments was receiving the Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award in 2023. It felt amazing to know that all my hard work has paid off, reminding me that I am on the right career path.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My family is my biggest source of inspiration and motivation. They have shaped my approach to life and work, driving me to pursue a career that combines scientific curiosity with the desire to make a positive impact on society.
Q: What would you do if you were not in health care?
A: If I had not pursued health research, I would have considered a career in the fashion industry. The creative freedom and expressiveness of fashion design are so intriguing to me.
Q: How do you unwind at the end of the day?
A: Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my two cats, family and friends. I also love trying out new cuisine by exploring the variety of restaurants and cafes around Vancouver.
Q: What is one thing we might be surprised to learn about you?
A: My curiosity and desire to see the world have led me to reside in vibrant cities like Tehran, Paris and London before moving to Vancouver. This nomadic lifestyle greatly enhanced my adaptability and opened my eyes to blending diverse cultural insights into both my personal and professional life. Japan and Egypt are next on my travel bucket list!
Q: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
A: I would encourage my younger self to embrace travel as much as possible — it is an invaluable way to broaden perspectives, increase understanding and reduce cultural barriers.