A Thornhill, Ontario native, Lauren Klein (Rygier) was greatly inspired by her formative experiences in the Berman laboratory, and looks forward to using this acquired knowledge while pursuing her future career as a Pediatric Oncologist. Pleased to be studying at Ben Gurion – Columbia University, Medical School for International Health (Class of 2015), Lauren has previously completed a B.Sc. in Biology with Honours from Dalhousie University, and a MSc. in Molecular Biology from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Lauren first joined the Berman laboratory as a summer student in 2008 completing a pharmacodynamic pilot study of chemotherapeutic and anti-ischemic agents injected in conjunction into adult zebrafish, and detecting their effect on biomarkers of cardiac health. Inspired by the robust research capabilities provided by the zebrafish model and mentorship by Dr. Berman, she completed another summer studentship in 2009 (also funded by the IWK Summer Studentship Award) and Honours project under Dr. Berman’s supervision. Her second project was a phenotypic characterization of the human C-KIT(D816V) mutation mediated mastocytosis and mast cell leukemia in the zebrafish.
Driven to combat cancer on a global scale and motivated by her encounters abroad, Lauren aspires to continue investigating cancer both bench and bedside, as well as establish additional pediatric cancer twinning partnerships worldwide. Addressing the shortage of specialized medical care professionals and available treatment options to children afflicted with cancer in poorly resourced nations, twinning programs unite hospitals and charities from affluent countries with those in the developing world. Twinning programs allow for dissemination of vital medical expertise, skills and medication to aid marginalized children afflicted with this currently orphaned disease.