In a University of Ottawa lab, Sarah Laframboise is hoping to advance cancer research by studying a gene that causes the disease in humans. Her research works with a “model organism”: tiny fungi that have a surprising amount in common with us.
“Yeast and humans share about 20 to 30 per cent of the same genes,” she said. “The goal of that is really to find underlying mechanisms that cause different disease states.”
The 27-year-old has always dreamt of being a scientist. After a decade in university, she’s nearly finished her PhD and has amassed around $100,000 in student debt.
“I’ve often worked many jobs at once just to make ends meet,” she said. “When I started my master’s, I had to take out additional loans because you’re then not allowed to work outside of the lab.”
Funding for research students in Canada comes mainly through scholarships and…