Behind the Microscope

Behind the Microscope
  By Carine Karam

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Thinking of pursuing a career in laboratory research? Campus Starter met with 4 lab techs to get a realistic view on a career in the sciences. Here are our contributors:

Pascal Desrosiers– 29, has worked as a lab technician for PROCREA BioSciences fertility clinic, for the past four years. He does everything from sperm counts and fertilising eggs to assisting doctors with embryo transfers during operations. "At the clinic, we create babies. Patients who are infertile come and see us to help them have babies. When they finally deliver they are so happy and that's a big reward for us," he says pointing to a wall covered in baby pictures his clinic helped produce.

Gae Pan Gagnon– 44, has been working for almost three years at Montreal's Gemin X Biotechnologies where he screens for cancer-fighting drugs in his company's lab. Him and his team are in the process of screening a library of 10,000 natural products such as plants, for any small molecules that kill cancer cells. This will take them several months.

Pascal L'Ecuyer– 26, is at his first job in the field, working at NRC's Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology in Ottawa. L'Ecuyer and his team are working on researching alternative energy sources through solar panels, trying to develop a material that will absorb the energy from the sun and transform it into electricity. "We work on many projects but this is the one people identify with the most. They talk about conserving energy in the news and the reality is that we will need to find alternative energy sources soon."

Maxim Cosette– 24, works as a lab technician for 5N Plus Inc., a company that develops thermoelectric alloys. Today, he is extracting metals from their ores, purifying and alloying metals, and creating objects from metals. The main goal is to create new alloys with greater mechanical strength and reliability using a hydraulic press as opposed to conventional melting processes.

Campus Starter: What sort of Education and past experience do you each have?

Desrosiers: I have a Bachelor degree in biochemistry from l'Université de Montréal with a certificate in management from l'Université du Québec à Montréal. During my years in university, I spent summers interning at laboratories. That experience was what landed me this job.

Gagnon:As a high school student I was always interested in sciences, especially chemistry. But when it came down to choosing a university major, it was the biology side that led me into biochemistry rather than just chemistry. I've never regretted my choice. I'm very happy in my field.

L'Ecuyer: With both a Bachelor degree in chemistry and a Master's degree in chemistry as well, I was well-equipped when I applied for a position as a technical officer at Canada's National Research Council (NRC) a year ago.

Cosette: I studied metallurgical techniques in a three-year CEGEP program, but my first love was music. After finding no work and no money as a seasoned musician, I decided to switch gears and try my hand at science. And though

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